Canada's uranium production recovers

10 March 2010

The world's second biggest uranium-exporting country has overcome a period of low ore grades and operation problems to approach production levels last seen in 2005.


Recent years have been lean due to low ore grades at the McClean Lake mine and various equipment and process problems at the Key Lake mill. However, figures gathered by the World Nuclear Association put Canada's uranium production in the last year at 11,997 tonnes of uranium oxide (tU3O8).


This kind of level, last seen from Canada in 2005, represents about 22% of world production and places Canada second to Kazakhstan's 16,400 tU3O8 production, but ahead of Australia's 9413 tonnes.


At McArthur River, a change in the licence allowed greater output, and 8654 tU3O8 was produced. At McClean Lake production recovered to 1637 tonnes, and at Rabbit Lake 1706 tonnes was produced.


However, the McClean Lake mill is due to close in mid 2010 and go on to care and maintenance until about a year before it starts to receive ore from the forthcoming Cigar Lake mine, now expected the start operation in mid 2013.  Areva has applied to divert its proportion of McArthur River ore to McClean Lake in that year, so as to commission the upgraded mill with high-grade ore.


Researched and written
by World Nuclear News