MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Canada: Cameco evacuated Cigar Lake uranium mine due to wildfires

Published by MAC on 2021-07-10
Source: Neimagazine.com, StarPhoenix, Ctvnews.ca

Operations include an underground mine and ore-processing facility.

Cameco announced that its regular workforce was returning on July 4 to the Cigar Lake uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan, after a local wildfire prompted an evacuation and suspension of operations last week. Cigar Lake is one of the world largest uranium mines.

Fire crews are managing multiple uncontained fires in the province, as high temperatures and a lack of moisture are creating favourable conditions for the fires to spread. Two of the uncontained fires are of particular concern: the Briggs fire near Cameco's Cigar Lake uranium mine which was reported at more than 1,500 hectares and the Lock fire near Buffalo Narrows at 3,380 hectares.

Previous articles:

2012-12-11 'Collaboration Agreement' with uranium giants sparks opposition in Saskatchewan
2011-04-12 In the wake of Fukushima, what future for Canadian uranium?

Extreme heat, dry weather create challenges as crews work to contain Sask. wildfires

Chad Leroux

https://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/extreme-heat-dry-weather-create-challenges-as-crews-work-to-contain-sask-wildfires-1.5494253

July 2, 2021

SASKATOON -- Fire crews are managing multiple uncontained fires in the province as high temperatures and a lack of moisture are creating favourable conditions for the fires to spread.

The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) has issued a fire ban for provincial parks, Crown land and the Northern Saskatchewan Administration District that includes open fires, controlled burns or fireworks. The ban comes on a day when the province is again expected to see scorching temperatures.

There are currently 17 active fires in the province, four of which are still not contained as of early Friday afternoon according to the province's active wildfire map.

Two of the uncontained fires are of particular concern according to the SPSA, the Briggs fire near Cameco's Cigar Lake uranium mine which was reported at more than 1,500 hectares as of Wednesday night, and the Lock fire near Buffalo Narrows at 3,380 hectares.

“The (mine has) … activated their incident management team and self-evacuated all non-critical staff," SPSA operations vice-president Steve Roberts said during a teleconference with media on Friday,

"Currently the fire is being managed and there has been no reported structure losses,” Roberts said.

According to the SPSA, communities near the Lock fire may be experiencing smoke coming from the fire, but it says industrial air cleaners have been shipped to the area to help people with respiratory concerns.

“We’re working with them so that they will be able to stay even if there is some smoke in the community,” Roberts said.

The SPSA said it is in communication with the communities of St. George’s Hill and Dillon Lake, as they are the two closest to the Lock fire at more than 20 kilometres away.

Air resources have been deployed in the area to help as a direct attack on the fires and some are being utilized to help protect staff on the ground.

The SPSA said the fire ban will remain in effect until there are some changes in the weather such as a drop in temperature or rain, and it is expecting it to last at least three or four days.



Cameco evacuates cigar lake mine due to wildfire

About 230 workers were reportedly being pulled out from the site, with some essential personnel to remain behind.

Saskatoon StarPhoenix https://thestarphoenix.com/news/saskatchewan/cameco-evacuates-cigar-lake-mine-due-to-wildfire

Jul 01, 2021

Cameco Corp. has announced it is pulling about 230 workers out from its Cigar Lake uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan.

The company announced Thursday in a media release that the decision was being taken due to a wildfire burning near the site.

The release noted extreme heat which has settled over Western Canada has made the situation more difficult, along with shifting winds.

The company reported that uranium production at Cigar Lake was suspended. About 80 essential workers were to remain at the mine to keep the facility safe. The release noted plans were in place to get those workers to safety in the event the fire worsens.

The release stated that precautions have been taken to limit the risk the fire poses to the mine. The company reported that the decision to evacuate the mine was made in conjunction with officials from the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency who were reportedly on-site assessing the situation “on an ongoing basis.”


Cameco’s Cigar Lake mine licence renewed

https://www.neimagazine.com/news/newscamecos-cigar-lake-mine-licence-renewed-8862463

1 July 2021

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) on 28 June said it will renew the uranium mine licence held by Cameco Corporation (Cameco) for its Cigar Lake Operation in northern Saskatchewan. This followed a public hearing held virtually in late April. The renewed licence allows Cameco to continue operating the Cigar Lake mine. The renewed licence is valid until June 30, 2031.

CNSC considered oral and written submissions from Cameco, CNSC staff, and 31 others and made participant funding available through its Participant Funding Programme (PFP). It invited interventions from Indigenous groups, members of the public and stakeholders. Four parties received participant funding to assist with their interventions.

Cameco applied for a licence renewal in November 2019 and in October 2020, CNSC made funding available through the PFP to support Indigenous peoples, members of the public and stakeholders in presenting their views. After reviewing all submissions, the Commission concluded that Cameco is qualified to carry out the mining activities that the renewed licence will authorise, and that Cameco will make adequate provision for the protection of the environment, and the health and safety of persons.

The Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan is home to high-grade uranium reserves with ore grades up to 100 times the world average.

Cigar Lake, located about 900 km north of Saskatoon, is the world's highest-grade uranium mine. Licensed operations at Cigar Lake include an underground mine and ore-processing facility, and a surface ore load-out facility. Since commissioning in 2014, the site has produced a total of 93 million pounds of ore. Commercial operation began in May 2015. Cigar Lake’s ore is processed 70 km northeast at the McClean Lake mill, which is operated by Orano.

 

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