AREVA says it is on track to finish upgrades to a leeching circuit at the McClean Lake uranium mill.

Spokesman Jarrett Adams says the work is proceeding smoothly and they expect to start processing ore taken from the Cigar Lake mine by the second quarter of this year.

Adams explains the work is intended to help prevent buildups of hydrogen within the ventilation system:

“That’s for when you put the uranium ore into the mill and when you begin to process it — there’s some hydrogen that forms. So we’re just adding some additional ventilation.”

He says mitigation efforts like this are not uncommon:

“The phenomenon is not unusual in processing of base metals.”

Adams notes it was AREVA that initially identified the problem.

He adds the mill is also ready to receive the ore today.