OPERATIONS AND MAJOR DEPOSITS
Saskatchewan was responsible for about 22.5% of the world's uranium production in 2016 according to the World Nuclear Association. Production came from three mines in the Athabasca Basin, operated by Cameco Corporation (Cameco). The Mcarthur River mine led the world by producing 18.0 M Ib U3O8 in 2016(Table 3). The Cigar Lake mine nearly matched this total with production of 17.3 M Ib U3O8 (Table 3), good enough for second place globally by a substantial margin. The Eagle Point mine at Rabbit Lake produced a further 1.1 M Ib U3O8 (Table 3).
Saskatchewans total production in 2016 was 36. 4 M Ib U3O8. Expected production in 2017 is 34. 4 M Ib U3O8, all of which will be derived from Mcarthur River and Cigar Lake(Table 3).
Table 3 -Published ni43-101-compliant Reserves and Resources for uranium deposits in Saskatchewan.
1. Operator first. Deposits in the Reserve and Resource sections are sorted alphabetically based on ownership breakdown, and then by deposit name.
2. 2016 and 2017 production figures and estimates are from company releases; e, estimated.
3. Total Reserves(Proven and Probable)are reported. Measured and Indicated Resources have been combined and are reported separately from Inferred Resources. Both Reserves and Resources reflect the U3O8content of the ore body. Reserve and Resource data are from company releases.
4. Originally published by Hathor Exploration in 2010.
5. Originally published by JNR Resources in 2012.
Mcarthur River mine-key Lake Mill
Mcarthur River mine: Cameco Corporation, operator(69. 805%)and AREVA Resources Canada Inc (30.195%)
Key Lake mill: Cameco Corporation, operator(83%)and AREVA Resources Canada Inc (17%)
For the first time since production began, the Reserves at Mcarthur River have a grade below 10%U0(Table 3).
Although the current overall grade of the deposit remains extraordinary, the Reserves grade peaked at the end of 2005, at an astonishing 24.6% U3O8. The Mcarthur River Mine has consistently been the world's largest producer over the last several years, with the 2016 total of 18 M lb U3O8 representing 11. 1% of global supply. By the end of 2016, Mcarthur River had produced over 310 M Ib U3O8 since opening in 1999, and maintained a Reserve of 369.7 M lb U3O8 (Table 3). Cameco forecasts production in 2017 to be 16.4 M Ib U3O8; with Cigar Lake expected to yield 18 M Ib U3O8, the top step of the producers podium will change. Moreover, after a late- 2017 announcement of an anticipated month shutdown, Mcarthur River will likely see significantly curtailed production in 2018. The shutdown is necessitated by continued weak uranium prices, which are being driven by market oversupply.
Ore from Mcarthur River is processed underground and then blended and thickened to produce a slurry with an average grade of 15% U3O8. The slurry is pumped to surface and into transport containers before being hauled to the Key Lake Mill, some 80 km to the southwest. The mill is licensed to produce 25 M Ib U3O8 annually. Tailings capacity at Key Lake has been expanded over the past several years and it is now sufficient to mill all known Reserves and Resources at Mcarthur River with capacity remaining. Due to the curent low uranium prices, the operators of the Mcarthur River mine-key Lake mill have been looking for effective ways to reduce costs. Among these was an extended shutdown in the third quarter that would reduce costs for crew changes. The shutdown included a four-week vacation period, followed by two weeks of maintenance at Mcarthur River and a further four weeks of maintenance at Key Lake,. Although these shutdowns were not anticipated to impact 2017 production, difficulties with the mils calciner circuit have resulted in a reduced forecast for the year, from 18 to 16.4 M lb U U3O8. Furthermore,suspension of mining at Mcarthur River or much of 2018 will result in e milling operation at Key Lake being place under care and maintenance for much of the year.
Cigar Lake mine-mcclean Lake Mill
Cigar Lake mine: Cameco Corporation, operator(50.025%),;AREVA Resources Canada Inc. (37.100%),;Idemitsu Uranium Exploration Canada (7.875%); and TEPCO Resources Inc (5.0%);
Mcclean Lake mil. AREVA Resources Canada Inc, operator(70%); Denison Mines Corp (22.5%) and OURD(Canada)Co Ltd. (7.5%)
The Cigar Lake mine produced 17. 3 M Ib U3O8 in 2016 and although anticipated production was only 16 M lb U3O8 as the mine ramped up, the licensed annual production(18 M Ib U3O8 )was nearly achieved. Full production is expected in 2017. Reserves at Cigar Lake are 215 M Ib U3O8 with an average grade of 15. %, making it the worlds highest-grade producing uranium mine. Total production at the mine since inception in 2014 is 28.9 M lb U3O8.
The Cigar Lake mine uses a fully contained production system in which the ore is mined, processed undergroundvand pumped to surface as a slurry (average grade is 16% U3O8 ) without any worker exposure to the ore. Ore from Cigar Lake is hauled 69 km to AREVA Resources Canada Inc. 's(AREVA) Mcclean Lake Mill. AREVA 's initial operational license for the mill was renewed in June for a further 10 years, expiring June 30, 2027. Current licensed capacity is 24 M Ib U3O8 annually. A cost savings plan similar to the one at Mcarthur River has also been undertaken at the Cigar Lake mine. In addition to shutdowns, an additional workforce reduction of 10% was also applied.
Eagle Point Mine-Rabbit Lake Mill
Cameco Corporation, operator(100%)
Production at the Eagle Point Mine was suspended in June 2016 due to challenging uranium market conditions. Final production for the year was 1.1 M Ib U3O8, significantly less than the planned 3.6 M lb U3O8. The entire mining and milling operation remained under care and milling operation remained under care and maintenance during 2017, with 120 employees maintaining the facilities.
Nexgen Energy Ltd (100%)
Nexgen Energy Ltd.'s(Nexgen)Arrow deposit lies in the Patterson Lake corridor. Nexgen has been exploring deep into the mineralized structures and has encountered uranium intersections at depths below 900 m-all in basement rocks. Nexgen announced a maiden Inferred Resource estimate in March 2016 and since that time has worked to increase the confidence of its model.A second Resource estimate, released in March 2017. converted much of the oniginal 201.9 M lb of contained U3O8 into the Indicated Resource category. The new estimate contains 179.5 M lb U3O8 in 1. 18 Mt of ore equating to a grade of 6.88%. A furher 122.1 M lb U3O8 is in an Inferred Resource comprising 4.25 Mt of rock grading 1.30%.
Nexgen followed up its Resource estimate with a Preliminary Economic Assessment. The model suggests that a low-cost, conventional long-stope mining process could support a mine life of 15 years with an on-site mill. Rather than an open-pit tailings facility, Negen envisions back-filling the mine workings with tailings reduced to paste and treated with a cement additive, resulting in a significant decrease in the projects surface footprint.
Triple R Deposit
Fission Uranium Corp (100%)
Fission Uranium Corp. (Fission )continued exploration and expansion of the Triple R deposit in the southwestem. Athabasca Basin since publishing a maiden Resource estimate and a Preliminary Economic Assessment for the project in 2015. The Resource currently contains 81.1 M lb U3O8 in the Indicated category and 27.2 M Ib U3O8 in the Inferred category; however, drilling over the last two years has expanded the Triple R deposits footprint and extended it to a depth greater than 350 m. In addition to Triple R, which is mainly below Patterson Lake, Fission has been exploring to the southwest. It has now defined two areas of mineralization, the R840W and R1515wzones, of which the former has a larger surface footprint. Altogether, the defined areas of mineralization now have a strike length of over three kilometers.
Fission envisions mining the Triple R deposit via an openpit. To achieve this, a dike would be built around the mining area in Patterson Lake and the pit area drained. The deposit would be extracted over a 14-year period and milled at the site.
Wheeler River Property
Denison Mines Corp. (60%); Cameco Coporation(30%); and JCU Exploration(Canada) Co., LtD.(10%)
Denison Mines Corp. (Design) has ontinued work on the Wheeler River property southwest of Mcarthur River. The property contains two defined uranium deposits. The original discovery, Phoenix, lies about 400 m below the surface at the basal Athabasca unconformity. The deposit has an Indicated Resource that contains 70.2 M lb U3O8 grading 19. 1%, the highest grade of any deposit currently defined in Saskatchewan. An additional 1. 1 M lb U3O8 resides in an Inferred Resource. The second defined uranium deposit is three kilometres northwest of Phoenix, called Gryphon. A Resource estimate for Gryphon, which is hosted by basement rocks nearly 200 m below the Athabasca unconformity, suggested the deposit contains 43 M lb U3O8 grading 2. 3% all in the Infrred category. Over the last year Denison has focused on delineation of the A, B and C lenses of Gryphon with the hope of both expanding the deposit and improving the confidence of the Mineral Resource estimate to the Indicated category. In addition, Denison has been defining the D-series mineralized enses at lie outside the curent footprint of Gryphon. Exploration has also intersected mineralzation at the basal Athabasca unconformity(～540 m depth) about 250 m to the northeast of Gryphon, along strike.
In spite of diffcult economic times, uranium exploration remains robust in Saskatchewan, with anticipated spending of $156. 1 milion in 2017. Major programs have continued in both the eastem and southwestern Athabasca Basin. In the southwest, activity is mainly focused in the Patterson Lake region with Nexgen, Fission and Purepoint Uranium Group Inc.(Purepoint) advancing significant deposits. Just to the northest of NexGen’s Rook I property,Purepoint,operator of the Hook Lake joint venture (JV;partners Cameco and AREVA), continues to explore the Spitfire deposit some 4.5 km northeast of the Amow deposit. Recent work has determined that Spitfire and NexGen's Harpoon deposits are contiguous, with a total strike length of more than 550 m, purepoint's work has also confirmed many of the key attributes at its Spitfire deposit to be present at the Dragon Zone, a further 5 km toward the northeast.
In the eastern Athabasca Basin, UEX Corporaton(UEX ; JV partner JCU Exploration(Canada) CO,. Ltd) is actively exploring the Christie Lake property, which is located 9 km northeast of Mcarthur River mine, and hosts the historical Ken Pen and Paul Bay deposits. These two deposits have a combined, historical resource of 20.87 M Lb U3O8 at a grade of 3. 22%. Recent exploration by UEX has confirmed mineralization at these deposits and identified a new deposit, Rora, which has a strike length of about 150 m. One of the drillhole intersections at Rora retumed 20.00%
U3O8 over 8.5 m. All three deposits are at depths around 480 m and are situated along the 1.5 km Yalowega Trend. UEX has suggested that the northeast extension of the P2 Fault, the fault that controls mineralization at the Mcarthur River deposit, also controls the three uranium deposits at Christie Lake. Northeast of Christie Lake, Denison( JV partner Waterbury Lake Uranium Limited Partnership) has reported significant increases in uranium grades for the Huskie zone at the Waterbury Lake project. The Huskie zone is basement-hosted, measures approximately 100 m in strike length, and is located nearly 1.5 km to the northeast of the propertys J zone(Table 3)uranium deposit. One of the highlighted drillholes retured 9.1% U3O8 over 3. 7 m, including 16.8% U3O8 over 2 m. West of Mcarthur River mine, operator Cameco and JV partner CanAlaska Uranium Ltd. have encouraging results at the West McArthur project. Following up on Cameo’s success at the Fox Lake deposit(Table 3), they continue to pursue the C10 conductor onto the adjacent West Mcarthur project. The uranium mineralization is disseminated within the sandstone and down to the unconformity, commonly associated with britle faults at depths near 780 m.