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Athabasca Basin and beyond

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Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for October 4 to 10, 2014

Their owners expect the McClean Lake mill and Cigar Lake mine
to become the world’s second-largest uranium production centre.


McClean Lake now processing Cigar Lake feed

The most recent delays overcome, the McClean Lake mill has started producing uranium concentrate from Cigar Lake ore, according to October 8 statements from Cameco Corp TSX:CCO and AREVA Resources Canada. They expect up to a million pounds of concentrate this year, with a goal of 18 million pounds at full capacity by 2018.

Calling the $2.6-billion mine “among the world’s richest and most technically challenging ore bodies,” Cameco president/CEO Tim Gitzel said it offers “a large-scale, low-cost production centre and positions us to take full advantage of the long-term growth we see coming in our industry.”

After considerable setbacks, Cigar Lake finally began production in March, only to suspend operations between July and September. AREVA took advantage of the latest delay to modify the leaching circuit at its mill, 70 kilometres northeast.

AREVA describes McClean Lake as the world’s only facility designed to process high-grade uranium ore without dilution. Along with the mine, “these two operations combined will become the world’s second-largest uranium production centre,” the company added.

Cigar Lake operator Cameco holds a 50.025% interest in the mine, in joint venture with AREVA (37.1%), Idemitsu Canada Resources (7.875%) and TEPCO Resources (5%). McClean Lake operator AREVA has a 70% stake in the mill, a JV with Denison Mines TSX:DML (22.5%) and OURD Canada (7.5%).

On October 7 Cameco stated unionized staff at the McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill voted in favour of a new contract. A labour dispute had shut down operations for about two weeks beginning in late August. The mine and mill employ 535 unionized workers out of about 900 staff and nearly 750 employees on long-term contracts.

Cameco holds a 70% interest in McArthur River and 83% of Key Lake. AREVA holds the rest.

Read more about Cigar Lake and its technical challenges.

Laramide pursues district-scale ambitions in Australia

On October 8 Laramide Resources TSX:LAM announced a sales purchase agreement to replace its 90% option on a Northern Territory property with a 100% acquisition. The company would get full control of tenement EL 29898 by paying Gulf Copper Pty Ltd AU$125,000 in three payments. The property covers 227 square kilometres adjacent to Laramide’s 100%-held Westmoreland flagship in northwestern Queensland. The company’s long-term strategy is to “consolidate the prospective tenure around the Westmoreland project on both sides of the Queensland-Northern Territory border.”

Two days earlier the company stated airborne geophysics had begun on its Murphy property in Northern Territory, described as farm-in and JV tenements with a Rio Tinto NYE:RIO subsidiary covering 1,115 square kilometres. Laramide has until November 13 to spend $1 million on the project, also adjacent to Westmoreland.

With 80% of Westmoreland’s resource within 50 metres of surface, the estimate shows:

  • indicated: 18.7 million tonnes averaging 0.089% for 36 million pounds U3O8

  • inferred: 9.02 million tonnes averaging 0.083% for 15.9 million pounds

Uravan updates Stewardson Lake drilling

Uravan Minerals TSXV:UVN reported results of two holes totalling 2,785 metres on its Stewardson Lake property in the south-central Basin. Described as “reconnaissance in nature,” the holes tested the five-kilometre-long E-conductive corridor. A downhole probe found no significant radioactivity.

“Very preliminary results” from a bore-hole pulse EM survey indicated a strong electromagnetic response east of one hole. Further results are pending.

Cameco funds the work under a 70% option.

See previous uranium news roundups:

Read expert commentary:

Thomas Drolet discusses nuclear power from a global point of view.

Thomas Drolet discusses Fukushima and nuclear energy’s outlook.

Tom Hope discusses uranium’s predicament and promise.

David Talbot discusses the metal’s challenges and potential, and the Athabasca Basin.

Disclaimer: Lakeland Resources Inc is a client of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in Lakeland Resources.

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