Environment & Safety

Safety

The Cigar Lake operation has a solid safety record. The operation has systematic programs to identify, evaluate and mitigate risks and engage all workers and managers in development of a strong safety culture. These programs follow the international OHSAS 18001 model and have delivered excellent safety performance during construction and startup of the mine which involve elevated safety risk.

Full-time equivalent dose

(mSv/yr)

  2015
Cigar Lake 0.92

Radiation Protection

Radiation risks are effectively managed at Cigar Lake through a formal radiation protection program and dedicated personnel who ensure that doses to workers are as low as reasonably achievable. The program ensures that radiation protection is considered in the physical design of all facilities and operating procedures. It also provides for systematic monitoring of radiation in work areas and tracking the exposures of individual workers using a combination of monitoring devices and health testing. Radiation exposures at Cigar Lake are far below the regulated limits.

Environmental Protection

Environmental protection at Cigar Lake operation is assured through an ISO 14001-certified environmental management system. The program ensures that the environmental aspects associated with the facilities are systematically identified, controlled and monitored.

Environmental Monitoring

Comprehensive monitoring programs are in place at the Cigar Lake operation to help protect the surrounding environment. Samples of water, air, soil, plants and fish are collected from numerous locations around the site and tested to confirm that environmental protection systems are effective. Monitoring results are submitted to federal and provincial regulatory authorities for review. Cameco also supports independent regional monitoring downstream of its Saskatchewan operations to ensure there are no cumulative effects on the regional watershed. The extensive monitoring undertaken at Cigar Lake has identified no significant impact on the surrounding environment.

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Arsenic

  Oct-14 Nov-14 Dec-14 Jan-15 Feb-15 Mar-15 Apr-15 May-15 Jun-15 Jul-15 Aug-15 Sep-15 Oct-15 Nov-15 Dec-15 Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16
Metal Mining Regulations Limit (mg/L) 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Cigar Lake Level (mg/L) 0.0044 0.0069 0.012 0.0123 0.0142 0.0274 0.04 0.031 0.035 0.0353 0.0292 0.0515 0.0565 0.0686 0.1286 0.1298 0.1344 0.1021 0.0836 0.0915 0.0754 0.0859 0.0684 0.0766

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Copper

  Oct-14 Nov-14 Dec-14 Jan-15 Feb-15 Mar-15 Apr-15 May-15 Jun-15 Jul-15 Aug-15 Sep-15 Oct-15 Nov-15 Dec-15 Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16
Metal Mining Regulations Limit (mg/L) 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3
Cigar Lake Level (mg/L) 0.001 0.0002 0.0005 0.0006 0.0004 0.0002 0.0002 0.0003 0.0002 0.0003 0.0004 0.0002 0.0006 0.0003 0.0006 0.0008 0.0004 0.0002 0.0002 0.0005 0.0004 0.0002 0.0002 0.0002

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Lead

  Oct-14 Nov-14 Dec-14 Jan-15 Feb-15 Mar-15 Apr-15 May-15 Jun-15 Jul-15 Aug-15 Sep-15 Oct-15 Nov-15 Dec-15 Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16
Metal Mining Regulations Limit (mg/L) 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
Cigar Lake Level (mg/L) 0.0002 0.0001 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.0002 0.00009 0.00009

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Nickel

  Oct-14 Nov-14 Dec-14 Jan-15 Feb-15 Mar-15 Apr-15 May-15 Jun-15 Jul-15 Aug-15 Sep-15 Oct-15 Nov-15 Dec-15 Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16
Metal Mining Regulations Limit (mg/L) 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Cigar Lake Level (mg/L) 0.0015 0.0017 0.0028 0.0049 0.009 0.0138 0.0085 0.0053 0.0038 0.003 0.0038 0.0051 0.0041 0.0046 0.003 0.0067 0.0035 0.0044 0.0053 0.0034 0.0014 0.0012 0.0013 0.0015

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Zinc

  Oct-14 Nov-14 Dec-14 Jan-15 Feb-15 Mar-15 Apr-15 May-15 Jun-15 Jul-15 Aug-15 Sep-15 Oct-15 Nov-15 Dec-15 Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16
Metal Mining Regulation Limit (mg/L) 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Cigar Lake Level (mg/L) 0.0310 0.0330 0.015 0.0065 0.0092 0.0037 0.006 0.009 0.011 0.0084 0.0066 0.0071 0.0089 0.0072 0.0098 0.0061 0.01 0.0285 0.0192 0.0311 0.0218 0.0203 0.0145 0.0338

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Suspended Solids

  Oct-14 Nov-14 Dec-14 Jan-15 Feb-15 Mar-15 Apr-15 May-15 Jun-15 Jul-15 Aug-15 Sep-15 Oct-15 Nov-15 Dec-15 Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16
Metal Mining Regulations Limit (mg/L) 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15
Cigar Lake Level (mg/L) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 2 1 2 1 1 1

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Radium-226

  Oct-14 Nov-14 Dec-14 Jan-15 Feb-15 Mar-15 Apr-15 May-15 Jun-15 Jul-15 Aug-15 Sep-15 Oct-15 Nov-15 Dec-15 Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16
Metal Mining Regulations Limit (Bq/L) 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37
Cigar Lake Level (Bq/L) 0.01 0.005 0.01 0.009 0.005 0.005 0.005 0.006 0.02 0.012 0.008 0.006 0.007 0.007 0.005 0.007 0.006 0.005 0.007 0.007 0.007 0.004 0.006 0.007

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — pH

  Oct-14 Nov-14 Dec-14 Jan-15 Feb-15 Mar-15 Apr-15 May-15 Jun-15 Jul-15 Aug-15 Sep-15 Oct-15 Nov-15 Dec-15 Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16
Authorized Maximum pH 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8 9.8
Cigar Lake Level pH 6.87 6.9 6.98 7.02 6.93 6.67 6.93 6.88 6.76 6.68 6.7 6.56 6.68 6.84 6.75 6.76 6.87 6.85 6.69 6.61 6.57 6.81 6.66 6.70
Authorized Minimum pH 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Selenium

  Oct-14 Nov-14 Dec-14 Jan-15 Feb-15 Mar-15 Apr-15 May-15 Jun-15 Jul-15 Aug-15 Sep-15 Oct-15 Nov-15 Dec-15 Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16
Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment Limit (mg/L) 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6
Cigar Lake Level (mg/L) 0.001 0.0013 0.0022 0.0018 0.0022 0.003 0.0034 0.0052 0.0032 0.0051 0.0041 0.0046 0.0039 0.0041 0.0043 0.0058 0.0092 0.0096 0.0069 0.0049 0.0062 0.0088 0.0071 0.0034

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Uranium

  Oct-14 Nov-14 Dec-14 Jan-15 Feb-15 Mar-15 Apr-15 May-15 Jun-15 Jul-15 Aug-15 Sep-15 Oct-15 Nov-15 Dec-15 Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16
Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment Limit (mg/L) 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5
Cigar Lake Level (mg/L) 0.0018 0.0039 0.0730 0.28 0.538 0.171 0.147 0.026 0.034 0.0255 0.0735 0.098 0.0528 0.0393 0.0095 0.0433 0.0062 0.0063 0.0056 0.0027 0.0021 0.0018 0.0016 0.0033

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Molybdenum

  Oct-14 Nov-14 Dec-14 Jan-15 Feb-15 Mar-15 Apr-15 May-15 Jun-15 Jul-15 Aug-15 Sep-15 Oct-15 Nov-15 Dec-15 Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16
Cigar Lake Level (mg/L) 0.013 0.035 0.204 0.033 0.297 0.41 0.351 0.098 0.3 0.439 0.0141 0.0165 0.0453 0.0288 0.0577 0.0229 0.0154 0.0071 0.0077 0.0205 0.0588 0.1296 0.0434 0.208

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Ambient Air Quality – Annual Average Total Suspended Particulate (TSP)    NOTE - Regulations replaced and standard revised on June 1, 2015; however for consistency, the old value is referenced for the 2015 reporting year. Reporting against the new value began in Q1 2016.

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016(Q2 YTD)
Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment Standard - see note (µg/m³) 70 70 70 70 70 70 60
Annual Average (µg/m³) 27.0 10.8 7.6 16.0 12.2 14.9 9.4

Environmental Incidents and Other Events

Environmental incidents and other events are reported to regulatory agencies as required by federal and provincial regulations.

Latest incident or event:

Date

February 22, 2017

Incident

Ammonia release

Details

Approximately 10 pounds of ammonia gas was released from a valve in the surface freeze system at the Cigar Lake operation. The valve was taken out of operation, repaired, tested and then put back into service.

Corrective Action

The cause is being investigated.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating Level 1 - no measurable impact to the environment

Read more

Date

February 22, 2017

Incident

Ammonia release

Details

Approximately 10 pounds of ammonia gas was released from a valve in the surface freeze system at the Cigar Lake operation. The valve was taken out of operation, repaired, tested and then put back into service.

Corrective Action

The cause is being investigated.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date November 9, 2016
Incident

Ammonia release

Details

A release of approximately 5 kg of ammonia gas occurred in the surface freeze plant at the Cigar Lake operation due to an equipment failure. 

Corrective Action

The equipment was safely shutdown and repairs were completed.  

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date August 29, 2016
Incident

Wildlife encounter

Details

A contract worker was injured during an encounter with a wolf at about 12 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 29 near the permanent camp at the Cigar Lake operation. The worker received medical treatment at the site’s nursing station and was transported by air ambulance to Saskatoon for further assessment and treatment.  

Corrective Action

Cigar Lake operation has implemented measures to ensure the safety of people at the site and has engaged provincial wildlife officers. Both provincial and federal regulators have been notified of the incident.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating N/A

 

Date May 17, 2016
Incident

Worker injury

Details

A worker suffered a serious hand injury during a hoisting operation at the mine’s main shaft while attempting to attach a sling to a loader.  After being treated by the site nurse, the worker was sent to Saskatoon by air ambulance for further treatment.  

Corrective Action

Initial investigation by Cameco safety officers determined that the accident was caused primarily by the type of sling that was being used.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date April 28, 2016
Incident

Precautionary medical evacuation

Details

A contract worker was flown off site for precautionary medical assessment after the excavating machine he was operating tipped onto its side while working on an incline. The worker was able to get out of the machine himself and was assessed by the site nurse.  The individual was examined at hospital and released.

Corrective Action

Upon completion of accident investigation, Cameco will work with the contracting company to put in place any corrective actions identified.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

 

Date July 17, 2015
Incident Tears in pond liner
Details Approximately 750 m3 of treated
Corrective Action Complete
Environmental Effect 2

 

Date December 12, 2014
Incident Foam drawn into ventilation exhaust fan
Details Approximately 20 L of lamella foam
Corrective Action Complete
Environmental Effect 1

 

Date December 9, 2014
Incident Leak from a pipe connection
Details Approximately 4 m3 of treated mine water
Corrective Action Complete
Environmental Effect 1

 

Date November 26, 2014
Incident Release while transferring brine into a duel contained tote
Details Approximately 15 L of calcium chloride brine was recovered
Corrective Action Complete
Environmental Effect 1

 

Date November 19, 2014
Incident Forklift punctured two antifreeze drums
Details Approximately 410 L of antifreeze
Corrective Action Complete
Environmental Effect 1

 

Date October 31, 2014
Incident Small leak in brine supply line
Details Approximately 2 L of calcium chloride brine
Corrective Action Complete
Environmental Effect 1

 

Date October 18, 2014
Incident Hose inadvertently pulled out from tanker
Details Approximately 90 L of calcium chloride brine
Corrective Action Complete
Environmental Effect 1

 

Date October 12, 2014
Incident Small leak from cam lock fitting
Details Approximately 1 L of calcium chloride brine
Corrective Action Complete
Environmental Effect 1

 

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating

  • Level 1 - no measurable impact to the environment
  • Level 2 - negligible impact
  • Level 3 - short-term, seasonal impact
  • Level 4 - mortality of some species, but not affecting ecosystem function
  • Level 5 - impairment of ecosystem function
  • N/A - not applicable

Decommissioning

Detailed plans and financial guarantees are in place to provide for decommissioning of the Cigar Lake sites when operations end. Decommissioning will include removal of all buildings and equipment and landscaping and re-vegetation of disturbed areas. All underground workings and other mine and mill facilities will be sealed off and secured. A monitoring program will be in place to ensure the sites remain in a secure and stable state for the long-term.

Waste Management

Ore mined at Cigar Lake is milled at AREVA’s McClean Lake operation. There is no tailings management facility at the Cigar Lake site. The jet boring mining method employed at Cigar Lake generates less waste rock than other methods. The waste rock that is brought to the surface is stored on lined pads. Waste rock containing small amounts of uranium is transported to the McClean Lake mill where it is used to blend down the high-grade ore prior to milling.

Environmental Assessment

All new mining developments and significant changes to existing operations may be subject to environmental assessments to identify potential effects on the environment.

Regulatory Oversight

The primary regulator for the Cigar Lake operation is the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). The mine is also subject to regulatory oversight from several other federal and provincial agencies including Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment. Federal and provincial regulators conduct regular site inspections and audits to verify that people and the environment are protected. Uranium mining and milling operations in Canada are licensed by the CNSC.