Cameco evacuates Cigar Lake as wildfire precaution

02 July 2021

Production at Cigar Lake has been suspended and Cameco is evacuating all non-essential personnel from the uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan as a precaution due to the proximity of a nearby wildfire. Some 230 workers are being transported off site, the company said yesterday, with about 80 essential personnel remaining on-site to maintain the facility in a safe state.

Cigar Lake (Image: Cameco)

"Should the wildfire threat grow considerably at site, a plan is in place to ensure their safety," Cameco said. The decision to evacuate was made in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency.

The situation is complicated by extremely warm, dry weather, resulting from the 'heat dome' that has settled over western Canada in recent days, along with variable wind and smoke conditions, the company said. Precautions have been implemented at Cigar Lake to limit the risk posed by the wildfire, and Cameco is working closely with provincial wildfire management personnel from the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency, who are on-site assessing the situation on an ongoing basis.

Cigar Lake is the world's highest grade uranium mine and has produced a total of over
93 million pounds U3O8 since it was commissioned in 2014. Ore from Cigar Lake is processed at the McClean Lake mill, 70 kilometres from the mine, which is operated by Orano. Uranium production at Cigar Lake was suspended due to restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic for five months from March 2020, and for a second time in December, resuming in April.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News