The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission began two days of public hearings in Saskatoon on Wednesday morning.

On the agenda are applications by uranium company Cameco to obtain a licence to operate a mine at Cigar Lake and renew an application to continue decommissioning the Beaverlodge mine near Uranium City.

Cameco spokesperson Gord Struthers says, if all goes well, Cigar Lake could be in operation by the end of the year.

“There is a lot of activity going on at the site right now and we’re making very good progress,” he says. “We’re seeking to achieve our first production at Cigar Lake by the end of the year, and we’re on track to do that so everything’s positive at the site.”

Nevertheless, he says it would still be a number of years before the mine is at full production capacity.

There will also be a public meeting on Thursday morning which will hear a presentation by the Saskatchewan Research Council on the progress of an environmental assessment on the closed Gunnar mine site, which is also located near Uranium City.