Cigar Lake Mine

The Cigar Lake Mine is the largest high grade uranium deposit in the world, located in the uranium rich Athabasca Basin of northern Saskatchewan, Canada.

Cigar Lake Mine
Cigar Lake Mine
Location in Saskatchewan
LocationAthabasca Basin
Coordinates58°04′07″N 104°32′26″W
Production18,000,000 pounds (8,200 t)
of U3O8 (2018)[1]
CompanyCameco (50.03%), AREVA (37.1%), Idemitsu (7.9%), and TEPCO (5%)

The deposit, discovered in 1981 is second in size of high-grade deposits only to the McArthur River mine. Other deposits, such as Olympic Dam in Australia, contain more uranium but at lower grades. The reserve grade at Cigar Lake is approximately 14%, whereas the world average is less than 0.2%.[2]


Full scale construction began in 2005 with production originally planned for 2007, but the mine experienced a catastrophic water inflow in October 2006, which flooded the mine. A second inflow occurred in 2008 during the first attempt at dewatering the mine after sealing the initial inflow. Remediation efforts continued, and re-entry was successfully accomplished in 2010. Production was delayed several times with the startup dates being announced for 2011,[3] 2013,[4] and 2014.[5]

On March 13, 2014, ore production began at the mine, with the mining system and underground processing circuits operational and ore transported to the McClean Lake mill operated by AREVA Resources Canada Inc. located 70 km (43 mi) northeast of the minesite.[6]


As of December 31, 2018, the mine had Proven and Probable Reserves of 553,100 tonnes at an average grade of 14.48% U3O8 for 176.6 million pounds U3O8, and Measured and Indicated Resources of 321,300 tonnes at an average grade of 14.40% U3O8 for 102 million pounds U3O8.[1]


The mine is owned by Cameco Corporation (50.03%), AREVA Resources Canada Inc (37.1%), Idemitsu Canada Resources Ltd. (7.9%), and TEPCO Resources Inc. (5%). Cameco is the project operator.

Wolf attack

On August 29, 2016, an unidentified young contract worker on his midnight break was jumped and mauled by a lone wolf less than 100 m (330 ft) from Cigar Lake's main campsite. A nearby security guard frightened the wolf away, administered first aid, and called for an air ambulance which airlifted him 675 km (419 mi) to a hospital in Saskatoon where he had his recovery. After the attack, authorities ordered that area wolves be shot, that food disposal systems and fencing be inspected, and that staff be educated.[7]

See also


  1. "Management's discussion and analysis" (PDF). Saskatoon, Canada: Cameco Corp. 8 February 2019. p. 64. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  3. "Cigar Lake floods again". Nuclear Engineering International. August 22, 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
  4. Bosker, Brent (March 2, 2012). "Cameco revises timeline for Cigar Lake". Rawlco Communications. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  5. "Cameco to miss 2013 target for Cigar Lake uranium project due to startup delays". The StarPhoenix. Postmedia Network. The Canadian Press. 2013-09-09. Retrieved 2013-09-09.
  6. "Cameco Announces Start of Ore Production at Cigar Lake Mine". Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  7. Wolf expert says human habituation likely reason for Cigar Lake attack
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