CNSC  renews Cameco Corporation’s uranium mine licence for its Cigar Lake Operation

News release

June 28, 2021 – Ottawa

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced today that it will renew the uranium mine licence held by Cameco Corporation (Cameco) for its Cigar Lake Operation in northern Saskatchewan. This decision follows a public hearing held virtually on April 28 and 29, 2021. The renewed licence allows Cameco to continue operating the Cigar Lake mine.

In making its decision, the Commission considered oral and written submissions from Cameco, CNSC staff, and 31 intervenors. The CNSC also made participant funding available through its Participant Funding Program, and invited interventions from Indigenous groups, members of the public and stakeholders in this matter. Four requesters received participant funding to assist with their interventions.

After reviewing all submissions, the Commission concluded that Cameco is qualified to carry out the mining activities that the renewed licence will authorize. It also concluded that Cameco will make adequate provision for the protection of the environment, and the health and safety of persons.

The record of decision is available on request to the Commission Secretariat at interventions@cnsc-ccsn.gc.ca. The decision will also be posted in both official languages at nuclearsafety.gc.ca at a later date. All submissions, hearing transcripts and the hearing webcast are available on the CNSC website.

The CNSC regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment; to implement Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy; and to disseminate objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the public.

Timeline

  • Cameco applied for a licence renewal on November 18, 2019.
  • In October 2020, the CNSC made funding available through the Participant Funding Program to support Indigenous peoples, members of the public and stakeholders in presenting their views to the Commission.
  • The Commission held a virtual public hearing from April 28 to 29, 2021 (hearing transcripts and webcast are available online or by request).  
  • The renewed licence is valid until June 30, 2031.

Quick facts

  • The Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan is home to high-grade uranium reserves with ore grades up to 100 times the world average. 
  • Cigar Lake, located about 900 km north of Saskatoon, is the world's highest-grade uranium mine.

  • Licensed operations at Cigar Lake include an underground mine and ore-processing facility, and a surface ore load-out facility.

  • Since commissioning in 2014, the site has produced a total of 93 million pounds of ore. Commercial operation began in May 2015.

  • Cigar Lake’s ore is processed 70 km northeast at the McClean Lake mill, which is operated by Orano.

Associated links

Contacts

Meghan Gerrish
Media Relations
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
613-996-6860 or 1-800-668-5284
mediarelations@cnsc-ccsn.gc.ca

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