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(last updated 11 Nov 2017)



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Cigar Lake · Cluff Lake (extra page) · Eagle Point · Earth Sciences Calgary plant · Key Lake · McArthur River · McClean Lake (extra page) · Rabbit Lake
> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Decommissioning Projects · Legislation & Regulations
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

General

> See also: National Reports for Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management (IAEA)

 

CNSC kindly invites uranium mine operators to verify stability of their tailings deposits - in view of tailings dam failure in British Columbia

Alerted by the massive Aug. 4, 2014, tailings dam breach at Imperial Metal Corporation's Mount Polley copper/gold mine in British Columbia, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) sent uranium mine operators on Aug. 14, 2014, a request to verify the stability of their tailings deposits.
> Download CNSC letter Aug. 14, 2014 (PDF)
[In the letter, the CNSC asks the companies to verify that all measures are in place to avoid a similar failure at their sites - a task that a surveillance authority should perform on its own rather than leaving it to the monitored entity. CNSC moreover makes the reply to the request completely voluntary, offering several options for deferring a reply or not replying at all. As the most severe measure, CNSC announces walk down inspections of the companies' tailings dams at the occasion of the next planned inspections. While such inspections can give hints on certain problems, they are in no way sufficient to assess the stability of a tailings dam. With this letter, CNSC admits complete failure as a surveillance authority for the safety of uranium mill tailings dams.]

Gord Struthers, spokesman for Cameco, said all active uranium operations store tailings in mined-out pits. They're below ground level and do not require dams to contain the slurry. There are decommissioned operations that did use aboveground tailings storage, but those tailings are dry so there is no volume of water that could leak, he said. "There's no possibility of that type of accident. None whatsoever," Struthers said. "That's not to say we're complacent about it." (Star Phoenix Aug. 20, 2014)

 

Cameco's tax evasion scheme

Cameco settles U.S. tax dispute: Canada's Cameco Corp, the world's second-largest uranium producer, said on Thursday (July 27) it had settled a U.S. tax dispute for a fraction of the original claim, which may bode well for the company's multi-billion-dollar battle with the Canada Revenue Agency. Cameco will pay the U.S. Internal Revenue Service $122,000 for its 2009 through 2012 taxation years, compared with the $122 million the IRS claimed Cameco underpaid. (Reuters July 27, 2017)

Activists present Cameco with tax payment petition: A group of activists delivered a petition to the head office of Cameco this morning. The petition, signed by 36,600 people, demands that the uranium mining company pay more than $2 billion in back taxes to the Canadian government.
At issue is a controversial subsidiary set up by Cameco in Switzerland. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) claims that the subsidiary was created to avoid paying taxes in Canada, something that Cameco refutes. (CBC June 15, 2016)

Cameco now also involved in tax dispute with the United States: Cameco, the uranium mining company, has disclosed that it is currently involved in a tax dispute with the United States. The company referenced the dispute with the IRS [United States Internal Revenue Service] in its 2014 Financial Results released Feb. 6.
"The current position of the IRS is that a portion of the non-US income reported under our corporate structure and taxed in non-US jurisdictions should be recognized and taxed in the US on the basis that:

According to Cameco, the IRS is seeking an additional $32 million in taxes, plus interest. The company said the IRS may also seek penalties. Figures in the financial statements are reported in Canadian dollars. (CBC Feb. 9, 2015)

Group's billboard asks Cameco to pay corporate taxes: The group behind a billboard in Saskatoon targetting a major Canadian exporter says it hopes the sign gets results. The sign asks Cameco to "pay up" and says the company owes hundreds of millions in taxes to Canadians. Don Kossick of Saskatchewan Citizens for Tax Fairness says they went with a billboard in the hopes it will influence Cameco to not use offshore havens for its money.
Cameco is in a dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency over hundreds of millions of dollars of corporate taxes. The agency alleges a 17-year contract Cameco signed in 1999 with a subsidiary it set up in Switzerland was a tax dodge and the company owes up to $850 million in corporate taxes. The case is expected to go to trial next fall, with a court decision expected in 2015. (The Canadian Press Jan. 27, 2014)

Canada's government accuses Cameco of multi-million dollar tax dodge: One of the largest companies in Saskatchewan is in the midst of a multi-million dollar tax court battle with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Cameco has publicly estimated that it could end up owing CDN$ 800-850 million in Canadian corporate taxes for the years 2008 to 2012, if it loses the case. CRA contends that the uranium giant set up a subsidiary in Zug, Switzerland for the purpose of avoiding taxes in Canada. (CBC Sep. 19, 2013)

Cameco saves taxes by selling its uranium through Swiss subsidiary: In 1999, Cameco set up a subsidiary, Cameco Europe Ltd., in low-tax Zug, Switzerland. Cameco then signed a 17-year deal to take the uranium it produces in Canada, sell it to Cameco Europe, and have Cameco Europe make the final sale to the end customers all across the world. Cameco is selling the uranium to Cameco Europe at the low prices reflective of 1999, when the deal was signed. Cameco is recording little to any profit in Canada; instead, all the profits appear in Zug, where the tax rate is lower. The uranium producer estimates it has avoided declaring CDN$ 4.9-billion in Canadian income, saving it CDN$ 1.4-billion in taxes, over the last 10 years. (The Globe and Mail, May 1, 2013)

> Download report: Cameco's Tax Fallout , by Veritas Investment Research, April 2, 2013 (380k PDF)

 

Cameco signs agreement to supply uranium to China

On June 24, 2010, Cameco announced it has signed an agreement with China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), to supply approximately 23 million pounds of uranium concentrate [8,846 t U] under a long-term agreement through 2020. "This is Cameco's first long-term uranium supply agreement with a major Chinese nuclear utility," said Jerry Grandey, Cameco's CEO. The agreement with CNEIC is subject to Chinese government approval.

On Nov. 23, 2010, Cameco announced it has signed an agreement with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co., Ltd. (CGNPC) to supply 29 million pounds of uranium concentrate [11,154 t U] under a long-term agreement through 2025.

Canada's Cameco Corp has begun shipping uranium concentrate to China, the company said. (Reuters Mar. 13, 2013)

 

Cameco hopes to supply uranium to India

> View here

 

Semitrailer hauling uranium oxide hits ditch after collision at highway intersection in Saskatchewan

Two people were sent to hospital following a two-vehicle collision on the morning of June 23, 2007, at the intersection of Highway 11 and Highway 15 near Kenaston, 80 km southeast of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. After a collision with a car travelling eastbound along Highway 15, the semitrailer travelling southbound on Highway 11 left the road and drove into the ditch at the southeast corner of the intersection. The drivers of both vehicles were taken to hospital with undetermined injuries. RCMP say the semitrailer was transporting uranium oxide, but the material did not leak from the truck. (StarPhoenix June 25, 2007)

 

Cameco announces production cut by 38% for 1999

Cameco Corporation announced it is decreasing uranium production to reduce spending in response to continuing low uranium prices and to ensure a smooth transition to its future McArthur River and Cigar Lake mines. Total uranium production from Cameco's two existing Saskatchewan operations (Key Lake and Rabbit Lake) will decline to approximately 16 million pounds U3O8 (6154 t U) in 1999 from 26 million pounds U3O8 (10,000 t U) in 1998.
> View full Cameco news release of Nov. 24, 1998

 


SASKATCHEWAN

General · Cigar Lake · Cluff Lake (extra page) · Key Lake · McArthur River · McClean Lake (extra page) · Rabbit Lake
> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Decommissioning Projects · Legislation & Regulations
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

General

Cameco signs collaboration agreement with Lac La Ronge Indian Band

The Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) and Cameco Corporation, are proud to announce the signing of a collaboration agreement that enhances and sustains their existing relationship and commercial ventures.
The agreement is structured around the pillars of workforce development, business development, community engagement and environmental stewardship, and community investment.
The agreement is designed to remain effective until the closure of the last of Cameco's existing operations in northern Saskatchewan, including Key Lake, McArthur River, Cigar Lake and Rabbit Lake. (Cameco June 19, 2017)

Cameco laying off 120 employees at Saskatchewan mines

Saskatoon-based Cameco Corp. says it expects to lay off 120 employees as part of its plans to further reduce costs and improve efficiency at its struggling uranium mining operations. Cameco says the workforce at the McArthur River, Key Lake and Cigar Lake operations will be reduced by approximately 10 per cent in total. The reduction is planned to be conducted in stages and scheduled to be completed by the end of May 2017. (Canadian Press Jan. 17, 2017)

Cameco and Areva renew collaboration agreement with Athabasca Basin communities

"The Athabasca communities, Cameco Corporation (Cameco) and AREVA Resources Canada Inc. (AREVA) are proud to announce the signing of a collaboration agreement that builds upon an enduring partnership in the development of uranium resources in the Athabasca Basin.
The Ya'Thi Néné (“Lands of the North” in Dene) collaboration agreement confirms the continued support of the communities historically and traditionally associated with the Cigar Lake, McClean Lake and Rabbit Lake uranium mining operations.
The comprehensive and unique agreement builds on the existing relationships and commercial arrangements between Cameco, AREVA and the three First Nation communities of Black Lake, Fond du Lac and Hatchet Lake, and the four communities of Stony Rapids, Wollaston Lake, Uranium City and Camsell Portage. [...]
The Ya'Thi Néné collaboration agreement builds on the existing impact management agreement signed in 1999. The new agreement is structured on five pillars of workforce development, business development, community engagement, environmental stewardship, and community investment." (Cameco June 21, 2016)

Cameco and Areva establish legacy fund for Northern Saskatchewan communities

Community leaders from across northern Saskatchewan, Cameco, and AREVA Resources Canada Inc. have established a legacy trust fund that will provide funding for community projects for decades to come. Six Rivers Fund , an independent non-profit corporation, will support projects and initiatives across the northern administration district (NAD) that focus on youth, education, sports, recreation and health and wellness.
The Six Rivers Fund will make community investments using the interest from a trust funded by Cameco and AREVA with proceeds from uranium recovery at the Key Lake operation. Funds available for community investment will be limited in early years as capital builds within the trust. The Six Rivers Fund has $100,000 available for community projects in 2016. Recognizing the legacy nature of the fund, in consultation with northern leaders, Cameco and AREVA have set an aspirational goal for the fund to reach $50 million in the decades ahead. (Cameco Apr. 11, 2016)

Cameco now with Ethics Hotline

> Ethics Hotline (Cameco)

Cameco suspends uranium shipments from Saskatchewan mines due to forest fires

Cameco announced today that production at its McArthur River, Key Lake, Cigar Lake and Rabbit Lake uranium operations in the Athabasca Basin has not been interrupted by forest fires in northern Saskatchewan.
In order to keep non-essential traffic off the two hard-surface roads that connect its operations with southern Saskatchewan, Cameco voluntarily suspended shipments of packaged uranium from its milling facilities. (Cameco July 9, 2015)

Protests at Cameco AGM

About 30 people shouted and waved signs outside Cameco headquarters during its annual general meeting Wednesday (May 28).
"All these years they've been causing contamination and there's a connection to every other link in the nuclear fuel chain ... It's having world-wide impacts," said Candyce Paul. She said collaboration agreements with her English River First Nation and the Northern Village of Pinehouse Lake are undemocratic. Those deals were negotiated by certain leaders while many people from the communities were left in the dark, she said. Kirsten Scansen of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band said she is worried about the ill-effects of mining byproducts and waste on the environment in the long term.
Physicist Mark Bigland-Pritchard pointed to an $800 million Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) bill for back taxes that Cameco is fighting in court as one example of a potential ethical breach.
Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel was unfazed by the protesters' criticism when he spoke to reporters who were invited inside after hearing from the activists. He is confident the company is on a safe legal footing in the tax appeal and said the company acted ethically. (The StarPhoenix May 28, 2014)

Report on Socio-Economic Impacts of uranium mining in Northern Saskatchewan presented

A recent report called the Community Vitality Monitoring Partnership Process (CVMPP) suggested that "uranium mining companies should target some education efforts and donations to invest in early childhood development" in northern Saskatchewan. The recent CVMPP report was suggested by northern leaders and put together by InterGroup Consultants Ltd., a company based in Winnipeg.
Thursday (May 23) at the University of Regina, Thomas Sierzycki, mayor of La Ronge, presented the report regarding the socio-economic impacts of uranium mining in Saskatchewan. Sierzycki said there needs to be more training and education towards the higher, non-entry level positions in order for northerners to fully benefit from the uranium mining industry. All entry-level positions are filled by locals but the skilled and technical positions need more local employees, provided there is more training opportunities and supporting education, the report said. Currently there are only 48 per cent of workers locally employed "ideally we want to see 67 per cent employed in the industry," said Sierzycki.
This year donations to La Ronge, from mining companies Cameco and Areva, totaled CDN$ 1.7 million. Proceeds from Cameco and Areva went to scholarships, infrastructure and other community projects. The study also looked at worker health and determined that more needs to be done to communicate recent monitoring, inspection research finding. (Regina Leader Post May 27, 2013)
> Download: The Socio-Economic Impacts of the 'Modern Era' of Uranium Mining on Northern Saskatchewan , prepared by InterGroup Consultants Ltd., February 2013 (5.6MB PDF)


Cigar Lake (Saskatchewan)

Ammonia gas release at Cameco's Cigar Lake uranium mine

On July 4, 2017, approximately two to three pounds of ammonia gas was released inside a refrigeration plant, which is part of the ground-freezing system at the mine site. (Cameco July 2017)

Ammonia gas release at Cameco's Cigar Lake uranium mine

On Feb. 22, 2017, approximately 10 pounds of ammonia gas was released from a valve in the surface freeze system at the Cigar Lake operation. (Cameco Feb. 2017)

Cameco laying off 120 employees at Saskatchewan mines

> View here

Cameco plans temporary shutdown of Cigar Lake mine in 2017 due to 'difficult global uranium market'

In addition to a six-week production halt at its McArthur River mine, Cameco Corp. plans to stop mining and milling uranium at two other operations in northern Saskatchewan for four weeks over the summer.
The Saskatoon-based company will implement paid "vacation" shutdowns at its Cigar Lake mine and Key Lake mill, likely beginning in July, as it works to reduce costs amid a difficult global uranium market, Cameco spokesman Gord Struthers said. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix Nov. 30, 2016)

Wolf attack at Cigar Lake mine - nature hits back?

A 26-year-old man is recovering in hospital after being attacked by a wolf while on shift at a northern Saskatchewan mine. The incident happened Monday (Aug. 29) morning at 12:05 a.m. CST at Cameco's Cigar Lake uranium mine, about 660 kilometres north of Saskatoon.
Cameco spokesperson, Rob Gereghty told CBC News that a contractor at the mine was mauled by an unprovoked wolf while taking his lunch break outside. "The injured contractor received immediate medical attention from a security guard who interrupted the attack and scared the lone wolf away," Gereghty said. "He wasn't more than about 50 to 60 metres away from our main campsite." Gereghty said the man was airlifted from the mine to a Saskatoon hospital where he is expected to make a full recovery. (CBC Aug. 29, 2016)

McClean Lake uranium mill obtains regulatory authorization for 85% production increase to accommodate Cigar Lake mine production ramp-up

> View here

The approval permits Cameco to meet its 2016 Cigar Lake production outlook of 16 million packaged pounds of uranium concentrate (6,154 t U). The Cigar Lake mine is expected to reach its full annual production of 18 million pounds (6,923 t U) in 2017. (Cameco May 31, 2016)

 

> View older issues


McClean Lake (Saskatchewan)

> See extra page


McArthur River (Saskatchewan)

> View deposit details
> View McArthur River Environmental Incidents (Cameco)

Cameco announces suspension of operations at world's largest uranium mine (McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill) due to depressed uranium market

Cameco announced today that due to continued uranium price weakness, production from the McArthur River mining and Key Lake milling operations in northern Saskatchewan will be temporarily suspended by the end of January 2018.
As a result of the suspension, the workforce at the operations will be reduced temporarily by about 845 workers (560 employees and 285 contractors). About 210 workers (160 employees and 50 contractors) will be retained to maintain the facilities in safe shutdown state. The duration of the suspension and temporary layoff is expected to last 10 months. (Cameco Nov. 8, 2017)
Accoding to the World Nuclear Association, the Mc Arthur River mine is the largest producing uranium mine in the world: its 2016 production was 6945 t U, representing 11% of world production.
> View: World Uranium Mining Production (WNA)

Small uranium ore slurry spill when loading trailer at McArthur River mine for transport to Key Lake mill

On Jan. 22, 2017, an operator at the McArthur River ore load-out facility reported a small amount of ore slurry on a trailer used to transport ore to the Key Lake mill for processing. Other slurry trailers were immediately inspected resulting in material being observed on five trailers. Testing confirmed that the material was ore slurry. An inspection of the load-out facility was conducted and a leak was found in the slurry delivery piping. There was no release of material during transport. (Cameco Jan. 2017)

Cameco laying off 120 employees at Saskatchewan mines

> View here

Cameco plans temporary shutdown of McArthur River mine in 2017 "to help address economic challenges"

Cameco Corp. is planning to shut down its McArthur River mine in northern Saskatchewan for six weeks this summer, starting during the week of July 2, according to an internal memo obtained by the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
The Saskatoon-based uranium company previously pledged to rely on its low-cost mines, including McArthur River, amid an extremely weak global market, but that changed Tuesday (Nov. 29) morning when the memo was circulated to employees at the mine about 500 kilometres north of Saskatoon. Les Yesnik, general manager of the mine and nearby Key Lake uranium mill, said in the memo that the shutdown is intended "to help address economic challenges facing our industry," and will include a mandatory four-week vacation period for non-essential personnel. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix Nov. 29, 2016)

Cameco reduces production target at McArthur River mine/Key Lake mill operation by 10% due to depressed uranium market

Given the current state of oversupply in the market, Cameco announced on April 21, 2016, to reduce its 2016 production target at the McArthur River/Key Lake operation to 18 million pounds [6,923 t U] from 20 million pounds (7,692 t U) (100% basis).

Cameco shuts down McArthur mine and Key Lake mill ahead of strike

Cameco announced today that, in response to receiving strike notice from the United Steelworkers Local 8914, the company initiated a shutdown of its McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill operations and will cease production at those sites. The union has advised Cameco of its intention to commence strike action, effective 12:01 a.m. on August 30, 2014. In response to the strike notice, Cameco issued a lockout notice effective 12:01 a.m. on August 30, 2014 to assure a safe and orderly shutdown of its facilities. (Cameco Aug. 27, 2014)
Canadian uranium producer Cameco Corp and the United Steelworkers union, which represents 535 workers at the world's largest uranium mine and a nearby mill, have agreed to a tentative deal ending a nearly two-week lockout, both sides said on Friday (Sep. 12). Mike Pulak, a staff representative for United Steelworkers, said workers would begin returning to the McArthur River, Saskatchewan mine and Key Lake mill as early as Friday. (Reuters Sep. 12, 2014)

License renewal for McArthur River uranium mine

CNSC approves license renewal for McArthur River uranium mine:
> View CNSC release Oct. 29, 2013
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision (502k PDF)

Sierra Club Canada demands environmental assessment for license renewal of Cameco's Saskatchewan mines: Sierra Club Canada calls upon the CNSC to postpone a decision on the proposed license renewal until after an environmental assessment of the impact of the facilities on the local and arctic environments.
> View Sierra Club Canada release Oct. 1, 2013
> Download Sierra Club Canada's submissions to CNSC on Cameco's proposed expansion of the world's largest uranium mines and mills in Northern Saskatchewan , Sep. 4, 2013 (1.6M PDF)

CNSC to hold hearing on license renewal for McArthur River uranium mine: The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a public hearing (October 1-3, 2013 - date revised) on the application by Cameco Corporation (Cameco) to renew its uranium mine and mill operating licence for the McArthur River operation located in northern Saskatchewan. Cameco has requested a 10-year licence term.
Requests to intervene must be filed by August 30, 2013.
> Download Notice of Public Hearings, July 10, 2013 (PDF - CNSC)
> Download Revised Notice of Public Hearings, Sep. 6, 2013 (PDF - CNSC)

 

CNSC holds un-hearing on license amendment for McArthur River uranium mine

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a hearing in March to consider Cameco Corporation's (Cameco) application to amend its Uranium Mine Operating Licence for the McArthur River Operation. Cameco is requesting an amendment to its operating licence to reflect a change in the Province of Saskatchewan's surface lease agreement referenced in the CNSC licence.
The Commission has determined that a public hearing is not necessary to consider Cameco's request in this case. The hearing will be conducted by way of written submissions from Cameco and CNSC staff.
> Download Notice of Hearing, Mar. 23, 2012 (PDF - CNSC)
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision , March 22, 2012 (PDF - CNSC)

EIS for processing of McArthur River ore at the McClean Lake mill submitted to regulators

> See here

All-weather road project between McArthur River and Cigar Lake mine sites

> See here

Cameco requests McArthur River license amendment to allow uranium production flexibility

CNSC has announced to hold an unpublic hearing in April 2010, on Cameco's application to amend the operating licence for the McArthur River mine to allow uranium production flexibility. The requested maximum allowable annual production amount in any calendar year is 8.1 million rather than 7.2 million kilograms of uranium, while the average annual production would remain unchanged.

> Download Notice of Hearing Apr. 23, 2010 (PDF)

Environmental assessment started on receipt and processing of McArthur River ore at the McClean Lake mill

> View here

Areva considers trucking ore from McArthur River mine to keep McClean Lake mill operating

> View here

CNSC approves license renewal for McArthur River uranium mine

On Oct. 23, 2008, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a two-day public hearing (June 11 / September 17, 2008), approved the application by Cameco Corporation (Cameco) to renew its operating licence for the McArthur River uranium mine located in northern Saskatchewan. Cameco has requested a five-year licence term. The current licence authorizes Cameco to operate a uranium mine, including the mining and processing of uranium ore; the maintenance of facilities necessary to support the mining operation; and the transport of uranium ore slurry, mineralized waste rock and low grade uranium ore to Cameco’s separately licensed Key Lake Operation.

> Download Revised Notice of Public Hearing, May 6, 2008 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript, June 11, 2008 (PDF)
> Download Cameco June 11, 2008, presentation to CNSC (12.2M PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript Sep. 17, 2010 (PDF)
> View CNSC news release Oct. 23, 2008
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision (PDF)

Cameco request for production increase at McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill

> See also Cameco Regulatory Initiatives - McArthur River

Federal environmental assessment cancelled for Expansion of Key Lake Mill and McArthur River uranium mine production capacity, as a result of change in legislation
On July 6, 2012, the new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 came into effect, changing the requirements for "low-risk" environmental assessments (EAs). As a result, the EAs underway on these projects are no longer required under the former CEA Act, and the assessment of the Expansion of Key Lake Mill and McArthur River uranium mine production capacity was cancelled.
> View EAs transitioning to Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA) (CNSC)

Cameco releases Revised Environmental Assessment Study Report for the Proposed Production Increase
On Dec. 15, 2005, Cameco released its Revised Environmental Assessment Study Report for the Proposed Production Increase at the McArthur River mine and the Key Lake mill.

> Download McArthur River Operation, Key Lake Operation: Environmental Assessment Study Report for the Proposed Production Increase - Revised, April 2005 (11M PDF)

Cameco releases Environmental Assessment Study Report for the Proposed Production Increase
On Nov. 30, 2004, Cameco released its Environmental Assessment Study Report for the Proposed Production Increase at the McArthur River mine and the Key Lake mill.

> Download McArthur River Operation, Key Lake Operation: Environmental Assessment Study Report for the Proposed Production Increase, November 2004 (8.9M PDF)

CNSC approves EA Guidelines for McArthur River production increase
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a one-day public hearing on September 15, 2004, approved the Environmental Assessment Guidelines (EA Guidelines) for the proposed production increase at Cameco Corporation’s Key Lake and McArthur River facilities, located in northern Saskatchewan.

> Download Notice of Public Hearing, June 29, 2004 (PDF)
> Download Sep. 15, 2004 Hearing Transcript (PDF)
> View CNSC release Nov. 1, 2004
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision (PDF)

CNSC invites comment on EA Guidelines for McArthur River production increase
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) invites public comment on the Environmental Assessment (EA) Guidelines concerning the Environmental Assessment of the Production Increase for Cameco Corporation's McArthur River mine and the Key Lake mill. Cameco is seeking regulatory approval to increase annual production by about 18% to 22 million pounds U3O8 (8500 t U).

> View CNSC release June 28, 2004
> Download Project proposal December 2002 (2.9M PDF - Cameco)
> Download Draft production increase guidelines June 2004 (96k PDF - Cameco)

CNSC approves McArthur River license renewal

> See also Cameco Regulatory Initiatives - McArthur River

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a two-day public hearing (July 7 and September 15, 2004), approved the application by Cameco Corporation, for the renewal of the mining operating licence for the McArthur River Operation, located in northern Saskatchewan.
> Download CNSC Notice of Public Hearing (PDF)
> Download July 7, 2004 Updated Public Hearings Agenda (PDF)
> Download July 7, 2004 Hearing Transcript (PDF)
> Download Sep. 15, 2004 Hearing Transcript (PDF)
> View CNSC news release Oct. 25, 2004
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision, Oct. 25, 2004 (PDF)

> Download Cameco presentation Licence renewal July 2004 (1.2M PDF - Cameco)

McArthur River miners exposed to higher radon levels during mine flooding

A breakdown in company procedures during the April 2003 flooding of Cameco Corp.'s McArthur River uranium mine led to about 300 underground workers being exposed to higher than usual levels of radon gas, according to a company spokesperson.
Some 295 workers were exposed to radon levels higher than the mine's historical average, and of that total 30 appear to have been exposed to radon levels three to five times greater than usual. The levels of exposure are still considered safe by Canada's nuclear watchdog. (Saskatoon Star Phoenix Nov. 19, 2003)

McArthur River mine shut after water inflow

On April 7, 2003, Cameco suspended production at the McArthur River uranium mine due to increased water inflow in a development area of the mine. (Cameco April 7, 2003)
Cameco now anticipates production restart will be delayed four to six months based on current conditions. (Cameco April 14, 2003)
In fact, the mine resumed operation on July 2, 2003. (Cameco July 2, 2003)

McArthur River mine threatened by forest fire

On June 26, 2002, a forest fire came into close proximity of the McArthur River uranium mine site. The mine's airport was shut down, and 110 employees were evacuated to Key Lake. Approximately 60 people stayed on site to keep the plant operating and to fight the fire.
On June 27, 2002, the fire had been progressing towards the site, but it slowed down in its progress. (CNSC meeting transcript, June 27, 2002 PDF, p. 19-20)

CNSC approves license renewal for McArthur River

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) held a two-day public hearing on an application by Cameco Corporation of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for a licence to operate the McArthur River Operation.
> Download Hearing Announcement
> Download CNSC REVISED NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING August 9, 2001 (PDF)
> Download Transcript of August 9, 2001 hearing (PDF)
> Download Transcript of October 4, 2001 hearing (PDF)
The license renewal was approved on Oct. 30, 2001.
> Download Record of Proceedings (Nov. 7, 2001) (PDF)

McArthur River reserves increased by more than 50%

The proven and probable reserves of the McArthur River deposit were revised from 255.2 million lbs U3O8 at 17.33% U3O8 (98,252 t at 14.7% U) to 394.5 million lbs U3O8 at 21.18% U3O8 (151,883 tonnes U at 17.96% U). (Cameco Jan 25, 2001)

> View older McArthur River issues


Key Lake

Aerial view: Google Maps

> View deposit details
> View License violations and reportable events at Key Lake

Cameco announces suspension of operations at McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill due to depressed uranium market

> View here

'Sulphur furnace ignition failure' (read: explosion) at acid plant of Key Lake mill

On October 10, 2017, s small propane explosion occurred within a sulphur furnace in the acid plant at the Key Lake mill during initial start-up procedures. No one was injured in the incident. (Cameco Oct. 2017)

Truck carrying uranium ore concentrate enters the ditch near Key Lake mill

On June 21, 2017, a tractor-trailer unit carrying drummed uranium concentrate entered the ditch on Highway 914 south of the Key Lake mill in northern Saskatchewan. No one was injured. The tractor and trailer remained upright and the load was intact. (Cameco June 2017)

Ore slurry truck tire fire near Key Lake mill

On Jan. 15, 2017, a driver hauling uranium ore slurry to the Key Lake mill from the McArthur River mine observed fire at the front driver's side tires of the trailer. The driver notified the Key Lake operation by radio and tried to extinguish the fire using a fire extinguisher. The Key Lake Emergency Response Team was dispatched and extinguished it. There were no injuries and the four slurry totes loaded on the trailer were not damaged. (Cameco Jan. 2017)

Cameco laying off 120 employees at Saskatchewan mines

> View here

Cameco plans temporary shutdown of Key Lake mill in 2017 due to 'difficult global uranium market'

In addition to a six-week production halt at its McArthur River mine, Cameco Corp. plans to stop mining and milling uranium at two other operations in northern Saskatchewan for four weeks over the summer.
The Saskatoon-based company will implement paid "vacation" shutdowns at its Cigar Lake mine and Key Lake mill, likely beginning in July, as it works to reduce costs amid a difficult global uranium market, Cameco spokesman Gord Struthers said. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix Nov. 30, 2016)

Cameco reduces production target at McArthur River mine/Key Lake mill operation by 10% due to depressed uranium market

> View here

CNSC approves revised preliminary decommissioning plan and reduced financial guarantee for Key Lake

> Download: Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision, Jan. 15, 2015 (88k PDF)

Cameco to shut down McArthur mine and Key Lake mill ahead of strike

> View here

License renewal for Key Lake uranium mine

CNSC approves license renewal for Key Lake uranium mine:
> View CNSC release Oct. 29, 2013
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision (541k PDF)

Sierra Club Canada demands environmental assessment for license renewal of Cameco's Saskatchewan mines: Sierra Club Canada calls upon the CNSC to postpone a decision on the proposed license renewal until after an environmental assessment of the impact of the facilities on the local and arctic environments.
> View Sierra Club Canada release Oct. 1, 2013
> Download Sierra Club Canada's submissions to CNSC on Cameco's proposed expansion of the world's largest uranium mines and mills in Northern Saskatchewan , Sep. 4, 2013 (1.6M PDF)

CNSC to hold hearing on license renewal for Key Lake uranium mine: The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a public hearing (October 1-3, 2013 - date revised) on the application by Cameco Corporation (Cameco) to renew its uranium mine and mill operating licence for the Key Lake operation located in northern Saskatchewan. Cameco has requested a 10-year licence term.
Requests to intervene must be filed by August 30, 2013.
> Download Notice of Public Hearings, July 10, 2013 (PDF - CNSC)
> Download Revised Notice of Public Hearings, Sep. 6, 2013 (PDF - CNSC)

Caribou wanders into Key Lake uranium mill tailings pond

Anti-nuclear activist Pat McNamara says concerns have been raised about the health of wildlife in Saskatchewan's north, following a report that on April 22, coincidentally Earth Day, a caribou had wandered through a fence and into a tailings pond at Cameco's Key Lake mine. The animal spent several hours in the water and McNamara claims northern residents are worried about how the animal may have been affected.
Gord Struthers, a spokesman for Cameco, confirmed the company knew about the caribou in the water but is confident no harm would come to it. Struthers explained that the pond does contain radioactive material and various heavy metals, but there is no danger. "You would have to be chronically exposed to the water in that pond before you experience any health effects at all," Struthers said. (CBC Sep. 28, 2012)

 

Key Lake extension project

CNSC announces un-hearing on Environmental Assessment of Key Lake extension project: The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a hearing in July 2014 to consider an application from Cameco Corporation to accept the proposed Environmental Assessment (EA) Report for the Key Lake Extension Project, located in Northern Saskatchewan.
The Commission has determined that a public hearing is not necessary in this case. The hearing will be conducted by way of written submissions from CNSC staff and Cameco.
> Download Notice of Hearing, July 8, 2014 (PDF)
> Download Revised Notice of Hearing, July 9, 2014 (PDF)
On July 16, 2014, CNSC accepted the Environmental Assessment.
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision (PDF)

Public comment invited on unavailable Key Lake Extension Project environmental assessment:
The deadline for written comments is February 28, 2014.
> View CEAA release Jan. 27, 2014
> Download Cameco's Environmental Impact Assessment and related project documents (Environment Saskatchewan)
> Download CNSC's Environmental Assessment Report (withheld)

CNSC approves Scoping Document for EIS of proposed Key Lake Extension project: The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) held a hearing on August 12, 2011, to consider the proposed Project-Specific Guidelines Scoping Document for the Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for Cameco Corporation's Key Lake Extension Project.
Cameco is seeking acceptance from the Commission to increase the average annual production of uranium and to increase the tailings storage capacity. The Commission considered the scope of the project and the scope of the assessment of the Key Lake Extension Project.
The hearing to consider the proposed EA Guidelines was conducted by way of written submissions from CNSC staff and Cameco. There was no opportunity for the public to participate.
> Download Notice of Hearing Aug. 2, 2011 (PDF)
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision, Aug. 12, 2011 (PDF)

Comments invited on scoping document for Key Lake expansion project: Cameco Corporation is proposing to expand the storage capacity of the Deilmann Tailings Management Facility at Key Lake and increase the mill's throughput capacity. The project is subject to an environmental assessment under both The Environmental Assessment Act (Saskatchewan) and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
A draft project-specific guidelines scoping document has been prepared to assist Cameco with the environmental impact assessment.
The public is invited to comment on the document, which incorporates federal and provincial environmental assessment requirements and identifies the key issues and studies to be addressed in an environmental impact statement.
Comments should be submitted by April 2, 2011.
> View Key Lake Extension Project Environmental Assessment (CNSC)
> View Key Lake Extension Project (CEAA)
> Download Request for Public Comment - Draft Project-Specific Guidelines Scoping Document, Public Notice Feb. 25, 2011 (PDF - CEAA)
> View Key Lake Extension (Environment Saskatchewan)
> Download Draft Project-Specific Guidelines Scoping Document, Feb. 2011 (Environment Saskatchewan)

Cameco is seeking regulatory approval to increase annual production capacity of the Key Lake mill by 33% to 25 million pounds U3O8 (9,615 t U) and to increase the capacity of the Deilmann tailings management facility (DTMF).

> View Cameco website
> Download Project Description, March 2010 (3.8M PDF) · Executive Summary (157k PDF) (Cameco)
> View Key Lake Extension Project Environmental Assessment (CNSC)

 

CNSC approves Key Lake license amendment to allow uranium production flexibility

After holding an unpublic hearing on June 9, 2009, CNSC approved Cameco's application to amend the Uranium Mill Operating Licence for the Key Lake Operation to allow uranium production flexibility. The maximum allowable annual production amount in any calendar year is now 7.85 million rather than 7.2 million kilograms of uranium, while the average annual production remains unchanged.

> Download Notice of Hearing, May 25, 2009 (PDF)
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision, June 9, 2009 (PDF)

Forest fire near Key Lake uranium mill

A large forest fire is burning in northern Saskatchewan about six kilometres away from the Key Lake operation uranium milling site. The company is taking steps to reduce risks, Cameco spokesman Gord Struthers said. (CBC 17 Jun 2009)

Replacement of Key Lake mill services

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) invites public comment on the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) Screening Report for the proposed Mill Services Project by Cameco Corporation (Cameco) at Key Lake, Saskatchewan. Copies of the Draft EA Screening Report are available upon request, only. The public comment period ends May 21, 2009.
> View Request for Public Comment on the Draft Environmental Assessment Screening Report
> Download Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) Screening Report (withheld)
> Download CNSC Notice July 8, 2009 (PDF)

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) received notice from Cameco Corporation, seeking CNSC approval to replace certain mill services at their Key Lake uranium milling operation in northern Saskatchewan.
The proposal includes the construction and operation of replacement acid, steam and oxygen plant facilities; construction and operation of ancillary facilities (replacement of storage tank farm and unloading facilities, and new covered gallery); demolition and disposal of the old plant facilities once the new ones are operational; and demolition and disposal of portions of the old ancillary facilities which are no longer required.
> View Key Lake Mill Services Project Environmental Assessment (CNSC)

CNSC approves license renewal for Key Lake uranium mill

On Oct. 23, 2008, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a two-day public hearing (June 11 / Sep. 17, 2008), approved the application by Cameco Corporation (Cameco) to renew its operating licence for the Key Lake uranium mill located in northern Saskatchewan. Cameco has requested a five-year licence term. The current licence authorizes Cameco to operate a uranium mill and waste management systems, and the associated site facilities to support this operation.

> Download Revised Notice of Public Hearing, May 6, 2008 (PDF) (CNSC)
> Download Hearing Transcript, June 11, 2008 (PDF)
> Download Cameco June 11, 2008, presentation to CNSC (4.6M PDF)

During the June 11 hearing, it became apparent that CNSC intends to approve the license renewal for the Key Lake mill, although

> Download Hearing Transcript Sep. 17, 2010 (PDF)
> View CNSC news release Oct. 23, 2008
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision (PDF)

CNSC approves changes at Key Lake mill to reduce contaminant concentrations in mill effluent

On Mar. 22, 2007, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced its decision to amend the operating licence for Cameco Corporation's uranium mill facility located in Key Lake, Saskatchewan. This decision was made following a one-day public hearing held on January 25, 2007 in Ottawa, Ontario. The amendment includes the addition of a licence condition requiring Cameco Corporation to implement a three-phase action plan for the control and reduction of the selenium and molybdenum releases to the environment.
> Download Notice of Hearing Dec. 4, 2006, Rev. 1 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript Jan. 25, 2007 (PDF)
> View CNSC release Mar. 22, 2007
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision, Jan. 25, 2007 (PDF)

Cameco request for production increase at McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill

> see here

CNSC approves Key Lake license renewal, in spite of continuing pit sidewall sloughing into the tailings disposed in the Deilmann pit

> See also Cameco Regulatory Initiatives - Key Lake

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a two-day public hearing (July 8 and September 15, 2004), approved the application by Cameco Corporation, for the renewal of the mining operating licence for the Key Lake Operation, located in northern Saskatchewan.
The license renewal was issued, although the tailings disposal in the former Deilmann open pit suffers from periodic sloughing of the pit sidewalls. One million cubic meters of sand have already slumped into the tailings, and another half a million cubic meters potentially may follow. This sloughing not only decreases the capacity of the tailings disposal facility, it moreover distorts the performance of the facility in the long term which is based on the impermeability of the tailings. With the sand contents increased from sloughing, the permeability of the deposited tailings mass will rise and give way to increased groundwater circulation through the tailings and thus to increased contaminant mobilization. Cameco maintains, however, that preliminary calculations had shown that the permeability increase would only be minor and would not adversely impact the performance of the facility.
> Download CNSC Notice of Public Hearing (PDF)
> Download July 8, 2004 Updated Public Hearings Agenda (PDF)
> Download July 8, 2004 Hearing Transcript (PDF)
> Download Sep. 15, 2004 Hearing Transcript (PDF)
> View CNSC news release Oct. 25, 2004
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision, Oct. 25, 2004 (PDF)

> Download Cameco's Licence renewal application July 2004 (2.2M PDF - Cameco)

Cameco seeking approval for recycling of wastes from Blind River and Port Hope nuclear fuel facilities at Key Lake mill

In October 2002, Cameco submitted to CNSC a project proposal for the recycling of waste materials from the Blind River refinery and the Port Hope conversion facility (both located in Ontario) at its Key Lake uranium mill. Up to about 1500 tonnes per year of "recyclable product" with an uranium contents of 4% would be added to the normal ore feed of the mill to recover the uranium contained.
According to CNSC, the project (FEAI Number 36525) was cancelled on May 19, 2011.
> Download Cameco's Project Proposal Nov. 2002 (10MB PDF)
> Download Additional Information - Environmental Assessment Study Report (EASR) for Uranium Recycle Project, October 2004 (440k PDF)

CNSC approves license renewal of Key Lake

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) held a two-day public hearing on an application by Cameco Corporation of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for a licence to operate the Key Lake Operation.
> Download Hearing Announcement
> Download CNSC REVISED NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING August 9, 2001 (PDF)
> Download Transcript of August 9, 2001 hearing (PDF)
> Download Transcript of October 4, 2001 hearing (PDF)
The license renewal was approved on Oct. 30, 2001.
> Download Record of Proceedings (Nov. 7, 2001) (PDF)

AECB approves operating licence for processing of McArthur River ore at Key Lake

During its November 4, 1999 meeting, the AECB approved the operating licence for the processing of ore from the McArthur River mine at the Key Lake mill and for subaqueous disposal of the resulting tailings in the Deilmann pit.
(View AECB news release Nov. 8, 1999 )

AECB approves Key Lake licence amendment

An amendment to the operating licence was approved for the Cameco Corporation’s Key Lake Mine in northern Saskatchewan. This amendment would allow for the conversion of the Deilmann In-Pit Tailings Management Facility to the subaqueous deposition method; and the construction of ore receiving and blending facilities for the future processing of McArthur River Project ore.
> View AECB News Release 98-29 of Nov. 6, 1998

 

License violations and reportable events at Key Lake

> View Key Lake Environmental Incidents (Cameco)


Rabbit Lake

> View deposit details
> View Rabbit Lake decommissioning issues
> View Rabbit Lake Environmental Incidents (Cameco)

Aerial view: Google Maps

Cameco writes down suspended Rabbit Lake operation

On July 28, 2016, Cameco announced that, due to the suspension of production at the Rabbit Lake operation during the second quarter, it recognized an impairment charge for the full carrying value of CDN$ 124.4 million.

 

Cameco suspends Rabbit Lake mine operation due to depressed uranium market

On Apr. 21, 2016, Cameco announced that it is suspending production at its Rabbit Lake operation in northern Saskatchewan. The changes are expected to result in a reduction of about 500 positions, including employees and long-term contractors.
The Rabbit Lake operation will be placed in a safe care and maintenance state allowing Cameco the option to resume production when market conditions significantly improve. A workforce of about 150 people will be required to maintain the facilities and sustain environmental monitoring and reclamation activities at Rabbit Lake. Work to transition the operation to care and maintenance will begin immediately and is expected to be completed by the end of August 2016.

 

Rockfall halts operation of Eagle Point uranium mine at Rabbit Lake site

On Dec. 17, 2015, Cameco announced that underground mining activities have been restricted at the Rabbit Lake operation in northern Saskatchewan. After reopening an inactive area of the Eagle Point mine, a fall of rock was discovered in a tunnel. No groundwater inflow to the mine has been observed in the affected area. As a precautionary measure, 40 non-essential personnel were removed from the mine and activities were restricted to ensure the safety of mine workers while the condition of the affected area is assessed. There were no injuries and no effect on the environment. Production mining at Eagle Point has been temporarily suspended while the assessment is completed. The Rabbit Lake mill continues to operate as usual.

 

Cameco writes down Eagle Point mine at Rabbit Lake

"During the fourth quarter of 2014, we recognized a $126 million impairment charge related to our Rabbit Lake operation. The impairment was due to the deferral of various projects that were related to planned production over the remaining life of the Eagle Point mine. The amount of the charge was determined as the excess of the carrying value over the recoverable amount. The recoverable amount of the mine was determined to be $29 million." (Cameco Feb. 6, 2015)

 

License renewal for Rabbit Lake uranium mine

CNSC approves license renewal for Rabbit Lake uranium mine:
> View CNSC release Oct. 29, 2013
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision (496k PDF)

Sierra Club Canada demands environmental assessment for license renewal of Cameco's Saskatchewan mines: Sierra Club Canada calls upon the CNSC to postpone a decision on the proposed license renewal until after an environmental assessment of the impact of the facilities on the local and arctic environments.
> View Sierra Club Canada release Oct. 1, 2013
> Download Sierra Club Canada's submissions to CNSC on Cameco's proposed expansion of the world's largest uranium mines and mills in Northern Saskatchewan , Sep. 4, 2013 (1.6M PDF)

CNSC to hold hearing on license renewal for Rabbit Lake uranium mine: The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a public hearing (October 1-3, 2013 - date revised) on the application by Cameco Corporation (Cameco) to renew its uranium mine and mill operating licence for the Rabbit Lake operation located in northern Saskatchewan. Cameco has requested a 10-year licence term.
Requests to intervene must be filed by August 30, 2013.
> Download Notice of Public Hearings, July 10, 2013 (PDF - CNSC)
> Download Revised Notice of Public Hearings, Sep. 6, 2013 (PDF - CNSC)

 

Forest fire near Rabbit Lake uranium mill

Non-essential personnel were evacuated from the Rabbit Lake operation in northern Saskatchewan on Friday (July 27) afternoon due to forest fire activity near the site. Site personnel were transported by bus to other mining operations in the area or to Points North Landing for air transportation to Saskatoon. The Rabbit Lake mill is currently in a shut-down state for scheduled maintenance and capital improvements. Underground mining facilities on the site have been safely shut down and evacuated. (Cameco July 27, 2012)
Personnel evacuated from the Rabbit Lake operation in northern Saskatchewan due to forest fire activity on the afternoon of Friday, July 27 are returning to the site to resume normal operations. (Cameco July 28, 2012)

 

Uranium discharges from Rabbit Lake (highest by far in Canada) showed increase rather than the predicted decrease in 2010

In 2010, the average monthly uranium discharge concentrations of the Rabbit Lake facility exceeded the 0.1 mg/L Uranium Screening Objective during three months (Aug., Sep., Dec.), while in 2009, they had remained below the Screening Objective during all months. Moreover, the facility's total loading of uranium to the environment increased in 2010 by 15% to 390 kg.
These increases stand in contrast to the further decreases expected for 2010 in the 2009 report (see below).
> Download 2010 Annual Report on Uranium Management Activities , May 2012 (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission)

 

Cameco prepares new milling arrangement to have all ore from Cigar Lake uranium mine processed at McClean Lake mill (Saskatchewan)

> View here

 

Rabbit Lake Tailings North Pit Expansion Project

Federal environmental assessment cancelled for Rabbit Lake Tailings North Pit Expansion Project, as a result of change in legislation: On July 6, 2012, the new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 came into effect, changing the requirements for "low-risk" environmental assessments (EAs). As a result, the EAs underway on these projects are no longer required under the former CEA Act, and the assessment of the Rabbit Lake Tailings North Pit Expansion Project was cancelled.
> View EAs transitioning to Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA) (CNSC)

CNSC to hold un-hearing on proposed guidelines for Rabbit Lake Tailings North Pit Expansion Project EIS: The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will hold a hearing in May to consider the Proposed Project-Specific Guidelines Scoping Document (Proposed Guidelines) for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for Cameco Corporation's (Cameco) proposed Rabbit Lake Tailings North Pit Expansion Project. Cameco intends to extend the life of the Rabbit Lake Operation by extending the tailings storage capacity from the current nine million cubic metres (Mm3) to 12 Mm3.
The Commission has determined that a public hearing is not necessary to consider the Proposed Guidelines. The hearing will be conducted by way of written submissions from CNSC staff and Cameco.
> Download Notice of Hearing, May 24, 2012 (PDF)
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision

CNSC starts Environmental Assessment of Rabbit Lake Tailings North Pit Expansion Project: Cameco is proposing to extend the life of the Rabbit Lake Operation by expanding the tailings capacity at the site from the current 9 million cubic meters (Mm3) to 12 Mm3. The proposed expansion would support milling activities at Rabbit Lake to approximately 2028 or longer.
> View Rabbit Lake Tailings North Pit Expansion Project (CNSC)
> View Rabbit Lake Tailings Management Facility Expansion (Sask. Environment)
> View Rabbit Lake Tailings Expansion (Cameco)
> Download Rabbit Lake Tailings Expansion Project Description , June 2011 (6 MB PDF - Cameco)

 

In spite of improvements, Rabbit Lake still Canada's uranium mine with by far the highest load of uranium discharged to the environment

The 2009 review of uranium releases at Canada's operating uranium mines and mills indicates that no facilities exceeded their Saskatchewan licence limit (2.5 mg/L) for uranium effluent discharge concentration. All facilities also achieved the optimization screening objective (OSO) of 0.1 mg/L. [Health Canada's current drinking water guideline is 0.02 mg/L.]
Results from 2009 show that of all facilities, the Rabbit Lake operation continues to discharge the highest load of uranium to the environment. Substantial reductions in effluent uranium concentrations and loadings were achieved by facility modifications and upgrades during 2007 and 2008. Throughout 2009, the average monthly concentration of uranium in effluent was consistently below the OSO of 0.1 mg/L [though only just...]. The facility's uranium loading to the environment (340 kg) was also approximately 45% lower than in 2008 (610 kg). Releases are expected to further decrease in 2010 with additional fine tuning and modification of the overall treatment process. [The mine with the second highest uranium load discharged in 2009 is McArthur River with 20 kg.]

> Download: 2009 Annual Report on Uranium Management Activities (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission)

 

Construction of new mine water treatment plant at Eagle Point mine

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has received a project description from Cameco Corporation (Cameco) to establish a new reverse osmosis (RO) mine water treatment plant and discharge system. This system will be constructed at the Eagle Point mine (Eagle Point) at Cameco's Rabbit Lake Operation to ensure adequate water handling systems are in place to permanently accommodate planned mine development and associated mine water inflow.
The CNSC has started a screening level environmental assessment on August 17, 2010.
On April 13, 2011, CNSC announced that it will hold a closed hearing in April to consider the approval of the project-specific Guidelines Scoping Document for Cameco's proposed project for the establishment of a treatment plant and discharge system at its Rabbit Lake Operation.

> View Eagle Point Water Management Project (CNSC)
> View Environmental Assessments: Eagle Point Water Management Project (Cameco)
> Download Notice of Hearing, Apr. 13, 2011 (CNSC)
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision, April 21, 2011 (CNSC)

On July 6, 2012, the new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 came into effect, changing the requirements for "low-risk" environmental assessments (EAs). As a result, the EAs underway on these projects are no longer required under the former CEA Act, and the assessment of the Eagle Point Water Management Project was cancelled.
> View EAs transitioning to Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA) (CNSC)

 

Forest fires near Rabbit Lake uranium mine and mill

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is tracking the status of forest fires in the area of Cameco Corporation's Rabbit Lake and AREVA Resources Inc.'s McClean Lake uranium mining and milling operations in Northern Saskatchewan. There is no safety risk at the present time but Cameco and AREVA are taking precautionary measures in accordance with their emergency response plans. (CNSC Aug. 4, 2010)

 

CNSC approves license renewal for Rabbit Lake uranium mine

On Oct. 23, 2008, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a two-day public hearing (June 11 / September 18, 2008), approved the application by Cameco Corporation (Cameco) to renew its operating licence for the Rabbit Lake Operation located in northern Saskatchewan. Cameco has requested a five-year licence term. The current licence authorizes Cameco to operate an active underground uranium mine (Eagle Point Mine), three inactive and partially reclaimed and flooded open-pit mines (A-Zone, B-Zone and D-Zone Mines), a mill, various mine and mill waste management systems, and associated site facilities.

> Download Revised Notice of Public Hearing, May 12, 2008 (PDF) (CNSC)
> Download Hearing Transcript June 11, 2008 (PDF)
> Download Cameco June 11, 2008, presentation to CNSC (8.4M PDF)
> View CNSC news release 23 Oct. 2008
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision (PDF)

 

Seepage discovered at Rabbit Lake mill

Seepage from underneath Cameco Corp.'s Rabbit Lake mill was discovered this winter after a contract worker noticed a pool of uranium-tainted ice at an outdoor worksite adjacent to the facility.
After an investigation into the spill, the company found a solution used in processing uranium was leaking through certain areas of the mill floor and was travelling to the nearby worksite. The site is where an excavation was underway to install an addition to the area's environmental management system, said Cameco spokesman Gord Struthers.
When the leak was first found on Jan. 26, 2008, the solution had a uranium concentration of 3.2 grams per litre, he said. As of March 16, 2008, solution that had not yet been pumped back to the mill for processing had a uranium concentration of 0.27 grams per litre.
The seepage did not put workers or the environment in danger at any time, said Struthers, adding there will be no lasting damage. The mill floor has since been repaired and resealed. (The Leader-Post Apr. 11, 2008)

 

Mining at Rabbit Lake slowed down due to increased water inflow

On November 28, 2007, Cameco Corporation announced that underground activities at the Eagle Point mine at the Rabbit Lake operation have been temporarily reduced as a precautionary measure.
The mine experienced an increase of water flow from a mining area at the same time as the capacity of the surface water-handling system was reduced due to an equipment upgrade. Limited mining activity will continue and the mill continues to operate with a small amount of stockpiled ore. This mine has encountered similar situations in the past and dealt with them successfully.

On January 2, 2008, Cameco Corporation announced its Rabbit Lake operation has resumed normal mining activities, after sealing off the source of the water inflow.

 

Rabbit Lake Solution Processing project

CNSC announces decision to proceed with consideration of the application for licence amendments related to the Rabbit Lake Solution Processing Project
Following a one day public hearing (June 11, 2008), the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced on June 19, 2008, its decision to accept the conclusions of the Screening Report for the Environmental Assessment of the Proposed Rabbit Lake Solution Processing Project (Screening Report) and to proceed with a course of action consistent with paragraph 20(1)(a) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act; that is consideration of the applications for amendment of relevant operating licences under the provisions of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

> Download Notice of Public Hearing, April 11, 2008 (PDF) (CNSC)
> Download Hearing Transcript, June 11, 2008 (PDF)
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision
> View CNSC release June 19, 2008
> Download Summary Record of Proceedings and Decision, June 19, 2008 (PDF)

Cameco and Areva Resources release Environmental Impact Statement for the Rabbit Lake Solution Processing project (processing of Cigar Lake uranium ore at Rabbit Lake mill)
Cameco Corporation and AREVA Resources Canada Inc. have jointly submitted a proposal to process uranium from the Cigar Lake mine at the Rabbit Lake mill.

> Download Rabbit Lake Solution Processing Project Environmental Impact Statement, January 2008 (Cameco)

CNSC invites public comment on draft guidelines for the proposed Rabbit Lake Solution Processing project
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), together with Saskatchewan Environment, invites public comment on the draft project-specific guidelines for the proposed Rabbit Lake Solution Processing project Rabbit Lake Operation, in Saskatchewan. The screening environmental assessment will be conducted pursuant to the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
The public comment period on the draft guidelines closes on October 14, 2005.
> View CNSC release Sep. 9, 2005
Project Proposal: Sask. Environment · Cameco

CNSC begins Environmental Assessment on processing of McClean lake uranium-rich solutions at Rabbit Lake mill
> View Environmental Assessment description (Feb. 10, 2005)

Cameco seeks approval for further processing of Cigar Lake uranium at Rabbit Lake mill
Cameco and its Cigar Lake joint venture partners are seeking regulatory approval to send approximately 12 million pounds U3O8 [4620 t U] from Cogema's McClean Lake mill to Cameco's Rabbit Lake mill for further processing. (Cameco Feb. 1, 2005)

> View: Regulatory Initiatives - Rabbit Lake (Cameco)

 

Sharp increase of uranium loads in lake sediments near Rabbit Lake mine

Effluents from the Rabbit Lake mine are causing a sharp increase in uranium loads in sediments of Wollaston Lake's Hidden Bay. While natural uranium levels in the lake sediment are below 3 µg/g, levels in Hidden Bay had reached approx. 25 µg/g in 2000, and have more than doubled each year since.
According to the Athabasca Working Group, who performed the tests during its annual environmental monitoring program, "This has been recognized by the company and they are looking into ways of reducing uranium in the effluent."
(Wollaston Lake, Athabasca Working Group Environmental Monitoring Program 2003)

Apparently, efforts in reducing the uranium in the effluent were partly successful, since 2004 and 2005 sampling showed uranium levels in the lake sediment of approx. 90 µg/g, but these values are still approx. 30 times background.
(Wollaston Lake, Athabasca Working Group Environmental Monitoring Program 2005)

Uranium loads in lake sediments near Rabbit Lake mine remain above "probable effects level": In 2007 and 2008, however, the uranium levels in sediment showed a sharp rise again, easily exceeding the federal "probable effects level" (PEL), at which no harmful effects to aquatic life are expected to occur. The 2008 level of approx. 280 µg/g even exceeded the peak level observed in 2003. In 2009, the level decreased again, but still remained above the PEL level.
(Wollaston Lake, Athabasca Working Group Environmental Monitoring Program 2009)

Sharp increase of uranium loads in lake sediments near Rabbit Lake mine - again: In 2010, 2011, and 2012, the uranium levels in sediment remained above 200 µg/g.
(Wollaston Lake/Hatchet Lake, Athabasca Working Group, Environmental Monitoring Program, 2012)

Uranium in sediment, Hidden Bay, 2000-2009

Uranium loads in lake sediments near Rabbit Lake mine on the increase again - in spite of mine effluent treatment now operating for seven years already: After 2012, the uranium levels in sediment increased again, reaching the 2008 peak level of approx. 280 µg/g once again in 2014. This happened, although "A treatment process to reduce uranium levels in the final effluent from the Rabbit Lake operation began in 2007, and in 2010, a molybdenum-selenium reduction circuit was completed. As a result, the amount of metals in the final effluent was reduced and this should eventually result in lower levels in Hidden Bay sediment."
> Download Wollaston Lake/Hatchet Lake, Athabasca Working Group, Environmental Monitoring Program, AWG 2014 , Dec. 22, 2015 (1.2 MB PDF - Cameco)

 

CNSC approves license renewal for Rabbit Lake mine

On October 24, 2003, following a public hearing held on June 25, 2003 and September 24, 2003, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced its decision to renew the uranium mine and mill operating licence for Cameco Corporation’s Rabbit Lake Operation located in northern Saskatchewan. The licence is valid until October 31, 2008.

> View CNSC News release Oct. 24, 2003

> Download Updated Meeting Agenda: June 25, 2003 · Sep. 24, 2003 (PDF)
> Download CNSC Hearing Transcript: June 25, 2003 · Sep. 24, 2003 (PDF)
> Download CNSC Record of Proceedings, including the Reasons for Decision (PDF)

Rabbit Lake mine restarted

On July 24, 2002, Cameco announced the restart of mining at its Rabbit Lake uranium operation. Mine production began at the operation’s Eagle Point underground mine and the mill will restart in August. Total production in 2002 is expected to be about 2.5 million pounds, ramping up to 6 million pounds on an annual basis. Existing reserves at Eagle Point will feed the mill for at least three years. In the latter half of the decade, the Rabbit Lake mill will be dedicated to process uranium from the Cigar Lake mine.

Eagle Point mine to restart in May 2002

At Rabbit Lake, progress continues toward the restart of the mine at Eagle Point. Mining operations are expected to resume in mid-May 2002. (Cameco April 29, 2002)

CNSC approves license renewal of Rabbit Lake

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) held a two-day public hearing on an application by Cameco Corporation of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for a licence to operate the Rabbit Lake Mining Facility.
> Download Hearing Announcement
> Download CNSC REVISED NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING August 9, 2001 (PDF)
> Download Transcript of August 9, 2001 hearing (PDF)
> Download Transcript of October 4, 2001 hearing (PDF)
The license renewal was approved on Oct. 30, 2001.
> Download Record of Proceedings (Nov. 7, 2001) (PDF)

Temporary shutdown of Rabbit Lake mill for one year from first quarter of 2001

The Rabbit Lake mill will operate on existing stockpiles until they are depleted, about the end of the first quarter of 2001. At that time the mill will be placed on standby. Subject to market conditions and the receipt of regulatory approvals, Cameco anticipates restarting the Rabbit Lake mill in the first quarter of 2002, shortly after mining activities resume.
In 2001, Cameco will seek regulatory approval to reopen the Rabbit Lake operation based on the revised mining plan for the remaining approximately 20 million pounds (7700 t U) of reserves at Eagle Point. (Cameco News Release, Aug. 3. 2000)

AECB approves renewal of Rabbit Lake licence

On October 1, 1998, the Atomic Energy Control Board approved the renewal of the operating licence for the Cameco Corporation's Rabbit Lake Mine, in northern Saskatchewan, for a period of two years ending October 31, 2000. (AECB News Release 98-26 , Oct 2, 1998)
The public comment period for the proposed renewal had ended on September 10, 1998. (AECB News Release 98-21 , July 22, 1998)
Milling of available reserves will be completed in the year 2001.


Cluff Lake

> see extra page


ALBERTA

Earth Sciences Calgary uranium recovery plant


> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Decommissioning Projects · Legislation & Regulations
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

Earth Sciences Calgary uranium recovery plant (Alberta)

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Further extension of completion date requested for clean-up of former Earth Sciences uranium recovery plant in Calgary

Viterra Inc. is requesting the Commission for a redetermination of the Commission Order issued on November 27, 2009. This Commission Order required Viterra to perform remediation activities to lands previously leased to Earth Sciences Resources Limited. Viterra is requesting a two-year extension (to December 1, 2013) to the December 1, 2011 actual required completion date.
The public is invited to comment on Viterra's application. Requests to intervene must be filed with the Secretary of the Commission by July 21, 2011.
> Download Notice of Public Hearing Jun. 27, 2011 (CNSC)

CNSC extends completion date for clean-up of former Earth Sciences uranium recovery plant in Calgary

Following a one-day public hearing, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced on November 30, 2009, its decision to replace the order issued to WESTCO by a CNSC Designated Officer on November 19, 2007, as amended by the Commission on April 21, 2008, for the clean-up of the site located at 3077 Sheppard Place S.E., Calgary, Alberta, and to extend the date by which the clean-up of the site must be completed to December 1, 2011.
> Download CNSC Notice Sep. 29, 2009 (PDF)
> Download Hearing Transcript Nov. 6, 2009 (PDF)
> View CNSC release Nov. 30, 2009
> Download Record of Proceedings, including Reasons for Decision

During the hearing, the question was raised how the plant could have reached that poor condition necessitating the current clean-up effort, in spite of CNSC's oversight. CNSC staff could not provide a satisfactory answer, but announced that they are now working on a strategy on financial guarantees for small licensees.

CNSC confirms order to Earth Sciences to clean up Calgary uranium recovery plant

ESIRL's uranium recovery plant became unlicensed following the expiry of ESIRL's licence on July 31, 2006.
On August 30, 2006, the Designated Officer, pursuant to her authority under paragraph 37(2)(f) of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act2 (NSCA), issued an Order to ESIRL. The Order required ESIRL to immediately comply with specific actions and measures identified in the Order, pursuant to section 41 of the NSCA. Among other actions and measures, ESIRL was ordered to complete the clean-up of the facility and submit a report to the Director General, Directorate of Nuclear Cycle and Facilities Regulation of the CNSC and provide the results of the final radiological survey conducted.
On May 16, 2007, CNSC confirmed the order, with amendments.

> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision, May 16, 2007 (PDF)
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision - Erratum, July 9, 2007 (PDF)

CNSC renews license for Earth Sciences' idle Calgary uranium recovery plant with conditions

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), after holding a one-day public hearing on November 30, 2005, approved an application by Earth Sciences Extraction Company (ESEC) for the renewal of the licence for its uranium recovery facility located in Calgary, Alberta. The license is, however, limited to 8 months and for maintaining the facility in a secure shutdown state only.

> Download CNSC Notice of Public Hearing, Oct. 6, 2005 (PDF)

"ESEC's facility in Calgary, Alberta, recovered uranium from phosphoric acid during the period from 1983 through 1987. Uranium oxide production was suspended in the fall of 1987 when the adjacent fertilizer plant from which the facility received its feedstock suspended operations. The contract under which the uranium was sold was modified in 1990 to allow unrestricted alternative use of the facility. Revamp of the facility to allow production of purified phosphate products was completed in 1997. The Calgary facility routinely produced technical grade phosphoric acid through August 1999 when operations were suspended for lack of sufficient working capital." (from Earth Sciences, Inc.'s Annual Report for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2003)
> Download Hearing Transcript, Nov. 30, 2005 (PDF)
> Download Record of Proceedings, Including Reasons for Decision, Jan. 12, 2006 (PDF)

 

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