AREVA RESOURCES CANADA: FROM EXPLORATION TO RECLAMATION
MAJ juin 2016
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.
Present in Canada since 1964, through predecessor entities, AREVA Resources Canada Inc. (ARC) covers all the group's mining activities in Canada
ARC specializes in exploration for uranium deposits and uranium mine and processing operations in Canada
The company works as a main operator and a partner in multiple projects. It also successfully completed the first complete decommissioning of a modern uranium mine, once the reserves had been exhausted.
AREVA Resources Canada Inc. employs about 500 people, more than 50% of whom are of Aboriginal descent
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.
- McArthur River, the world’s largest uranium mine (11% average grade of uranium ore)
The mine, which is more than 400 m deep, is operated by Cameco Corporation, which holds a 69.8% share, with AREVA Resources Canada owning the remaining 30.2%. In view of the high uranium content, operations are conducted using remote controlled equipment in order to avoid any direct contact between the miners and the ore. The raise boring extraction method is used on this site. The ore is processed 80km away at the Key Lake mill in which AREVA holds a 16.7% share.
- Cigar Lake, the world’s highest grade uranium mine and second largest (17% an average grade of uranium ore).
The mine, which is more than 650m deep, is operated by Cameco Corporation, which holds a 50% share. AREVA Resources Canada has a 37.1% stake while the Japanese partners Idemitsu Uranium Exploration Canada Ltd and TEPCO Resources Inc. hold the remaining 7.9% and 5%.
All of the ore extracted from the mine is processed at the McClean Lake mill, 80 km away, operated by AREVA. Operations at the mine started in March 2014.
Located in unstable rock saturated with water, this deposit demanded the use of the innovative jet boring method. This method contributed to the development of a technology to reinforce terrains by freezing the rock and extract the ore using a high-pressure jet of water
- The McClean Lake mill, the only mill in the world capable of processing high grade uranium ore without dilution
The average uranium grade of the ore processed in 2015 was 17.5%, with peak of 25 %, whereas it was less than 1% between 2005 and 2010.
The McClean Lake Mill has a lincensed production capacity of 25 Mlbs U3O8. The mill underwent an upgrade and expansion between 2012 and 2016 to be able to safetly processed all the high grade ore from the Cigar Lake Mine and increase its capacity from 13 Mlbs to 24 Mlbs. 75% of this capacity will be used to process all the ore from the Cigar Lake mine (18 Mlbs U308). The remaining 25% may be used for ore coming from other potential deposits
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
Visit the AREVA Resources Canada page at: