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Saskatchewan mining: Cigar Lake resumes, fire at PotashCorp, TFWs at potash project

by Greg Klein | September 5, 2014

Cameco restarts Cigar Lake, strike continues at McArthur River/Key Lake

Production has resumed at Cameco Corp’s (TSX:CCO) Cigar Lake uranium operation, according to a September 4 Reuters report. Mining was suspended in mid-July to reinforce a process of freezing the rock with a brine solution to prevent flooding. The world’s highest-grade uranium mine after Cameco’s McArthur River, Cigar Lake finally began operations in March after numerous delays.

The company has stated the mine’s annual target of 18 million pounds U3O8 by 2018 “will not be impacted.”

Meanwhile McArthur River and the Key Lake mill remain on suspension due to a labour dispute. Management and union have yet to resume talking, according to media reports. By press time Cameco media relations manager Rob Gereghty hadn’t responded to a request for confirmation.

Cameco holds a 50.025% interest in Cigar Lake, a joint venture with AREVA Resources Canada (37.1%), Idemitsu Canada Resources (7.875%) and TEPCO Resources (5%). Cameco has a 70% stake in McArthur River and 83% in Key Lake, with AREVA holding the rest.

Fire shuts down PotashCorp’s Cory facility

Saskatchewan mining Cigar Lake resumes, PotashCorp fire, TFWs at potash project

A fire at PotashCorp’s Cory facility suspended
operations but won’t affect production targets.

No one was injured but a fire forced PotashCorp TSX:POT to suspend operations at its Cory mill in southern Saskatchewan on September 2. “There will be no material impact on operations,” a spokesperson told Industrial Minerals. The fire’s cause is under investigation.

The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reported the fire broke out on the mill’s roof. In the past, workers have been trapped by underground fires in Saskatchewan potash mines.

Employee-owned company dumps Canadians in favour of TFWs at Agrium project

Canadian workers at another southern Saskatchewan potash mine were laid off while temporary foreign workers stayed on, according to reports that surfaced earlier this week. Alliance Energy let go about 50 Canadian electricians working on an expansion of Agrium’s (TSX:AGU) Vanscoy operation. Alliance retained 30 to 40 TFWs. Company president Bryan Leverick told CBC the layoffs were “based on merit.”

CBC stated Ottawa is investigating the company, which was given permission to hire foreign workers before the rules were tightened up.

Alliance describes itself as “an employee-owned company.”

Read more about temporary foreign workers in Canadian mines here and here.

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