AREVA RESOURCES CANADA: FROM EXPLORATION TO RECLAMATION
MAJ october 2015
AREVA Resources Canada Inc. specializes in uranium exploration and mining in Canada. The company operates mines and is a partner in several joint ventures. It has also successfully completed the first modern uranium mine decommissioning and reclamation project following depletion of the reserves.
AREVA Resources Canada Inc. was created in 1993 but has been operating in Canada, via various entities, since 1964. It includes all of the group’s mining operations in Canada. It is based in Saskatoon, in the province of Saskatchewan. It employs more than 500 people, of whom more than 40% are of Aboriginal ancestry.
Most of the company's active mining projects are located in Northern Saskatchewan. AREVA Resources Canada Inc.:
- operates the McClean Lake uranium ore mill;
- is a partner in the Key Lake mill and the McArthur and Cigar Lake mines. These two deposits, which are exceptional both in tonnage and in the high grade of the reserves, are currently considered to have the largest high-grade deposits in the world.
Discovering new deposits
AREVA Resources Canada Inc. is continuing its exploration activities to seek new uranium deposits in order to develop and diversify its long-term reserves. Exploration campaigns are conducted in the Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Nunavut, regions with high uranium potential. AREVA is a majority shareholder in several deposits: McClean Lake, Shea Creek, Midwest, and Kiggavik. The pace at which these deposits are developed, and for which additional studies are needed, will depend on the level of uranium prices.
Midwest – AREVA Resources Canada owns 69% of this deposit, discovered in the eastern Athabasca Basin in 1978, and will operate it.
AREVA is also evaluating the possibility of developing an underground mine at its McClean Lake site.
Shea Creek – The Shea Creek deposit, located in the western Athabasca Basin, 13 kilometers south of the former Cluff Lake mine site, is owned 51% by AREVA Resources Canada, which will also operate it.
Kiggavik – AREVA has a 64.8% interest in this deposit, discovered between 1974 and 1997 and will operate it. In 2014, AREVA Resources Canada filed the final Environmental Impact Statement for the Kiggavik project with the Nunavut Environmental Review Board.
McArthur River, the world’s largest high-grade deposit, is located about 620 kilometers north of Saskatoon. It is operated by Cameco Corporation, which holds a 69.8% interest in the venture, with AREVA Resources Canada holding the remaining 30.2%. The deposit was discovered in 1988 and mining began in 1999.
Remotely operated equipment is used to mine the deposit to prevent direct worker exposure to the high-grade ore.
The ore is processed at the Key Lake mill, located about 80 kilometers south of the mine. This mill is 16.7% owned by AREVA. Cameco Corporation also operates the mill, in which it owns the remaining 83.3% share.
Cigar Lake is the second largest high-grade uranium deposit in the world after McArthur River. The project is located 660 kilometers north of Saskatoon. It is operated by Cameco Corporation, which holds a 50% interest in the deposit. AREVA has a 37.1% stake. All of the ore extracted from the mine is processed at the McClean Lake mill (80 km away) operated by AREVA. Mining began in March 2014. Cigar Lake will produce 6,900 tons of uranium a year when operating at full capacity.
Located 450 meters below the surface in unstable, water-saturated rock, the deposit was discovered in 1981 by AREVA. An innovative method – Jet Boring – has to be used to mine this deposit. With this method, which contributed to the development of a technology to strengthen the host rock by freezing, the ore is extracted using a high-pressure water jet.
The McClean Lake mill, which processes the ore from Cigar Lake, is operated by AREVA, is owned 70% by AREVA, 22.5% by Denison Mines Inc., and 7.5% by OURD (Canada) Co. Ltd., of Japan.
Located 750 kilometers north of Saskatoon, the McClean Lake mill is the most technologically advanced mill in the world for the processing of high-grade uranium ore.
The extension project currently under way will increase the mill’s annual production capacity to nearly 9,200 tons of uranium in 2016:
• Nearly 75% of this capacity will be used to process all the ore from the Cigar Lake mine.
• The remaining 25% will be used for ore coming from other potential deposits.
The Cigar Lake and McClean Lake sites will then be together, the second-largest uranium producers in the world.
A MODEL EXAMPLE OF RECLAMATION
For more than 20 years starting in the early 1980s, AREVA Resources Canada owned and operated the Cluff Lake deposit discovered in 1967. Mining operations ceased in 2002 following the depletion of the reserves. Today, Cluff Lake is considered a model modern uranium mine reclamation program.
Most of the site reclamation and mill dismantling work took place between 2004 and 2006. The last of the facilities were dismantled in 2014 in accordance with the Canadian legislation in force. The site was reclaimed and revegetated. Trees were planted, and local plant species were used. The site is still being environmentally monitored by AREVA to track the change in conditions over time. Management of the site is organized according to the institutional monitoring program and will ultimately revert to the province of Saskatchewan.
A company recognized for the quality of its environmental management practices
As for all of the group's entities, AREVA Resources Canada has an active risk management, natural resources consumption reduction and environmental protection policy.
AREVA Resources Canada Inc. deploys ISO 14001-compliant environmental management systems at all of its sites and for all of its operations. All of AREVA’s mining sites and projects in Canada (exploration, mining and reclamation) are certified to this standard within the framework of an integrated management system based on OHSAS 18001 (for occupational health and safety).
All of the sites have a monitoring system for air, water and terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna, and numerous actions are taken to reduce the environmental footprint while the sites are in operation and after they are closed.
AREVA Resources Canada Inc
817 45th Street West
PO Box 9204 S7K 3X5
Tel. (1) 306-343-45-00
Fax. (1) 306-653-38-83
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