AREVA Resources has announced plans to mill all of the ore extracted from the Cigar Lake uranium mine.
The Cigar Lake mine is owned by Cameco, but it is not expected to begin operating until 2013 due to a flood a few years ago.
AREVA spokesman Jarret Adams says, under the old plan, AREVA was only going to mill some of the ore taken from the mine — but that has now changed with today’s announcement.
Under the previous toll-milling agreements, both the McClean Lake mill and Cameco’s Rabbit Lake mill were to process uranium from Cigar Lake.
Cameco says the Rabbit Lake mill will continue to process ore mined on the site and has the flexibility to process ore from other sources.
The new milling arrangement is expected to reduce the estimated operating cost of the Cigar Lake project by almost 20%.
Adams says AREVA is taking steps now to re-open its McCLean Lake milling facility, which had been temporarily closed.
He says the company has begun studying what upgrades it will have to make, and expects everything will be ready when the Cigar Lake mine opens.
The McClean Lake mill is the only facility capable of processing high-grade uranium ore without diluting it.
AREVA is planning to invest nearly $150 million to upgrade the plant and increase its capacity to more than 8,500 tonnes per year.