The McClean Lake mill, 850 km northeast of Saskatoon in northern Saskatchewan, is Orano Canada’s flagship operation. It is the world’s most technologically advanced uranium mill for the processing of undiluted, high-grade uranium ore, which is supplied by the Cigar Lake mine operated by Cameco Corporation, 80 km away (average grade 15% U3O8, the highest in the world). At the mine, ore is extracted from an orebody two kilometres long and 450 m deep, mixed into a slurry, and trucked to the mill site.
The mill can produce 24 million pounds of yellowcake (uranium concentrate) annually, and in 2021 achieved total production of 12.3 million pounds U3O8.
The Cigar Lake Mine
Cameco’s Cigar Lake mine is the world’s highest grade uranium mine, which has produced over 105 million pounds of ore since beginning operations in 2015. It is also notable for its innovative jet-boring technique, developed specifically for this deposit.
Orano owns over 30% of the McArthur River mine and nearly 17% of the Key Lake mill, both operated by Cameco. This mine holds large reserves of high-grade ore (7% U3O8 average), which is processed at Key Lake. While production has been suspended since 2018 at both sites due to market conditions, in 2022 Cameco announced plans to restart the operations.