Orano and Denison Announce Successful 2021 Mining Test Showcasing SABRE Potential

Orano Canada Inc. (“Orano Canada”) and Denison Mines Corp. (“Denison”) (TSX: DML, NYSE American: DNN), as joint-venture partners in the McClean Lake Joint Venture (“MLJV”), are pleased to report the successful completion of a five-year test mining program deploying the patented Surface Access Borehole Resource Extraction (“SABRE”) mining method on the McClean Lake property. 

The final stage of a five-year field test was completed from May to September 2021 with four mining cavities successfully excavated to produce approximately 1,500 tonnes of high-value ore ranging in grade from 4% U3O8 to 11% U3O8. The program was concluded with no safety, environmental or radiological incidents and confirmed the ability to achieve key operating objectives associated with the test program – including targets for cavity diameter, rates of recovery, and mine production rates.

The majority of the ore recovered from the test mining program has now been transferred to the McClean Lake mill, and is expected to be processed for the MLJV by the end of the year.  

This test represents an important milestone for the SABRE technology. Based on the success of the 2021 program, the partners plan to evaluate the potential use of this innovative method for future mining operations at their jointly owned McClean Lake and Midwest properties. The McClean Lake joint venture is owned by Orano Canada (77.5% and operator) and Denison (22.5%). The Midwest joint venture is owned by Orano Canada (74.83% and operator) and Denison (25.17%).

“The SABRE mining method is the result of long-term R&D and involves a mix of different equipment, technology and expertise,” said Orano Canada President and CEO Jim Corman. “I’m proud of the work this operational team of drillers, mechanics and engineers completed this summer as they showed how agile this method can truly be. They demonstrated the Orano values of innovative thinking, cohesion and team spirit, revising plans throughout the summer to incorporate the learnings from each new drill hole.”

David Cates, Denison’s President & CEO, commented “With this test result, SABRE has demonstrated that it is capable of mining high-grade uranium ore in the Athabasca Basin region.  Orano, as operator of the MLJV, has diligently advanced the necessary R&D efforts as part of a long-term vision for developing a mining method that could benefit our joint venture. We are appreciative of Orano’s efforts to ensure the safe and successful development of this patented technology and look forward to jointly exploring its potential applications in the context of improving uranium markets.”


SABRE is the culmination of a mining equipment invention and development initiative that began in 2004.  It is a non-entry, surface-based mining method that uses a high-pressure water jet placed at the bottom of a drill hole to excavate a mining cavity.  The cuttings from the excavation process are then air lifted to surface, separated and stockpiled. SABRE is viewed as an innovative mining method that could potentially allow for the economic access to relatively small high-grade orebodies in the Athabasca Basin that are either too small or too deep to be mined economically by open-pit and/or underground mining methods.  

SABRE is unique in that the mining method can be selective and scalable, which has the potential to provide superior flexibility when compared to conventional mining methods and is thus ideally suited to ever changing uranium market conditions – with a potentially short production ramp up of months instead of years.  The SABRE method is considered environmentally friendly as a result of its less intrusive nature and potentially smaller surface footprint when compared to conventional open pit or underground mining methods. Reduced water usage and power consumption also contribute to potential reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and improved sustainability.  Additionally, as a non-entry mining method, radiological exposure for mine workers is minimized.

Quality Assurance, Quality Control and Data Verification

Orano Canada, under the supervision of a Qualified Person in accordance with the requirements of NI 43-101, has performed detailed QAQC and data verification, where possible, of all datasets with respect to the test mining program.

For more information please contact:

Carey Hyndman
Manager, Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
Orano Canada


David Cates
President & CEO
Denison Mines Corp.
416-979-1991 x362

Qualified Persons

The technical information in this release has been prepared and/or reviewed and approved by Mr. Louis-Pierre Gagnon, P. Eng., General Manager, Mine Projects of Orano Canada, who is a Qualified Person in accordance with the requirements of NI 43-101.

On behalf of Denison, Mr. David Bronkhorst, P. Eng., Denison’s Vice President Operations and a Qualified Person in accordance with the requirements of NI 43-101, has approved the technical disclosure in this release.

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