Cigar Lake

  • Cigar Lake is the world's highest grade uranium mine and is located in northern Saskatchewan, Canada.
  • Since commissioning in 2014, the site has produced a total of 82.9 million pounds (100% basis).  Commercial operation began in May 2015.
  • As the operator, Cameco developed an innovative jet-boring technique specifically for this challenging deposit.
  • Cigar Lake's ore is processed 70 km northeast, at the McClean Lake mill, operated by Orano.
Operation(As of December 31, 2019)
Production(As of December 31, 2019)

2020 Q2 Update


Cigar Lake Production

Cameco's Share (million lbs)

3 months ended
September 30
  9 months ended
September 30
2020 2019 Change     Change
0.2 1.4 (86%) 2.2 6.3 (63%) 5.3

In September we safely restarted the Cigar Lake mine, as announced in our second quarter MD&A, after a temporary suspension as a precaution due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As planned, it took about two weeks to achieve initial production once the mine was restarted. Our share of production in the third quarter was 0.2 million pounds compared to 1.4 million pounds in 2019. Production is 68% lower than in 2019 for the first nine months of 2020.

Impacts of COVID-19

Recently, in accordance with our operating protocols, a number of employees and contractors were placed in isolation at site due to potential infection with or exposure to the COVID-19 virus. All individuals were tested, and results came back negative. Provincial health authorities have cleared all individuals to return to work. Orano confirmed that it has had positive cases of the COVID-19 virus at their McClean Lake mill. All of the cases originated outside the work environment and have been carefully managed to avoid onsite transmission and have not impacted the site’s operation and production.

We will continue to respond to potential future COVID-19 cases in accordance with our plans and established protocols, which are consistent with the guidelines of the relevant public health authorities. We do not currently expect any impact on the Cigar Lake operation and continue to target our share of 2020 production to be up to 5.3 million pounds in total. The continued operation will be dependent on our ability to maintain safe and stable operating protocols along with a number of other factors, including how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the availability of the required workforce, northern Saskatchewan communities and the ability of the McClean Lake mill to continue to operate.

We also have experienced delays and deferrals in project work, including lower capital expenditures, which introduces potential risk to the production rate in 2021 and 2022.

Our share of the cash and non-cash costs while Cigar Lake was on care and maintenance totaled about $46 million ($18 million in the third quarter), including our contribution to the care and maintenance costs at McClean Lake.

See full Quarterly Report

Environment & Safety

Worker safety, protection of the environment and proper decommissioning after mining is completed, are of the utmost importance to Cameco.

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Reserves & Resources

Our mineral reserves and resources are the foundation of our company and fundamental to our success.

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Caution about forward-looking information

This page may contain forward-looking information that is based upon the assumptions and subject to the material risks discussed on page 2 of Cameco's most recent Quarterly MD&A.