Uranium mining - McArthur River mine and and Key Lake mill
April 29, 2013
Interesting UTube video on uranium mining in Saskatchewan. See source a).
- The miners use remotely piloted vehicles to scoop up the ore. This reduces risk exposure.
- The McArthur River Uranium Mine, in northern Saskatchewan, Canada, is the world’s largest high-grade uranium deposit. Ore grades within the deposit are 100 times the world average, which means the operation can produce more than 18 million pounds of uranium each year by mining only 150 to 200 tonnes of ore per day.
- Between 2000 and 2011, the McArthur River/Key Lake operation has produced 211 million pounds U3O8. In 2011, McArthur River was the world’s largest producing uranium mine, accounting for 14% of world mine production.
- The mine is owned by Cameco Corporation (70%) and AREVA Resources Canada Inc (30%), formerly COGEMA Resources Inc. Cameco is the mine operator.
- Key Lake remains the world’s largest high-grade uranium mill. The mill was converted by 1999 to handle the even higher grade of ore shipped to the operation in slurry form from the McArthur River mine 80 kilometres to the north.
- The Key Lake and McArthur River operations together employ approximately 900 Cameco staff and almost 750 long-term contractor employees
Surprisingly, uranium is one of the more common elements in the Earth’s crust - it is more common than tin, about 40 times more common than silver and 500 times more common than gold.
Saskatchewan is on track to producing 1/3 of the world’s uranium.
There is a plethora of information on nuclear energy linked in source d).