Environment & Safety
- Radiation doses for all workers at Rabbit Lake are well below allowable limits.
- Workers' cumulative gamma doses are recorded on radiation badges. Results are reported to the regulators and to Cameco employees.
- Cameco also conducts an annual sampling program related to worker safety involving thousands of samples. The results of the sampling show that the workplaces are safe.
- Rabbit Lake's Cameco and long-term contract employees achieved one year without a lost-time accident in August 2000.
- Rabbit Lake was the winner of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum's John T. Ryan trophy for the best safety record for metal mines in Canada in 2000.
Environmental monitoring ensures that emissions from operations are well below allowable limits. Monitoring results and environmental incidents are reported to federal and provincial regulatory agencies.
The purpose of tailings management is to isolate and store the waste residue from the milling process so that people and the environment are protected.
The tailings from the mill are deposited in the mined-out Rabbit Lake pit using the pervious surround method of tailings management.
In this system, the pit wall is lined with crushed rock and sand. Tailings are then placed into the pit. Water from the tailings is pumped out and returned to the mill for use in the milling process and the tailings become compacted.
When the pit is filled, the tailings will be covered with a layer of sand and crushed rock and the lake water level will be restored. The compacted tailings will remain safely in the pit, below the bottom of the lake.
Groundwater will follow the path of least resistance and flow through the crushed rock and sand but not through the compacted tailings. The groundwater will not be contaminated because it flows around the tailings. Environmental impacts will be minimal. The results of environmental monitoring, after more than two decades of operation, show this disposal system is performing well, as predicted.
Cameco is committed to environmentally safe operations. We are continually monitoring to ensure the environment is effectively protected at our sites. Areas no longer in use are landscaped and revegetated to return them as much as possible to their predevelopment state.
The decommissioning scenarios listed below are not final and may change as detailed engineering is completed and regulatory approvals are received.
Rabbit Lake Open Pit Tailings Facility -- The open pit tailings facility will be capped with clean material once the tailings are fully consolidated and water will be allowed to return to natural levels.
Original Rabbit Lake Tailings Management Facility -- A contoured cap will be placed over the facility once the tailings are consolidated and the surface will be vegetated. The cap will ensure long-term integrity and effective drainage of surface run-off.
Collins Bay Zones -- Special waste was placed in the bottom of the mined-out open pits, covered with clean till and the pits were re-flooded. The remaining waste stockpiles will be contoured and revegetated. The dykes isolating several of the flooded pits from Collins Bay have now been opened to allow the free exchange of water.
Eagle Point -- All special waste and as much waste rock as feasible will be returned underground at Eagle Point as fill. Surface areas will be contoured and vegetated.
RABBIT LAKE OPERATION
A former open pit deposit...
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