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)

  2017
Cigar Lake 0.73

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

  Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16 Oct-16 Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17 Dec-17
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) 0.1298 0.1344 0.1021 0.0836 0.0915 0.0754 0.0859 0.0684 0.0766

0.0690

0.1298

0.0875

0.0749 0.0726 0.1044

0.0704

0.0601

0.0717

0.0786 0.0363 0.0606 0.0599 0.1086 0.0746

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Copper

  Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16 Oct-16 Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17 Dec-17
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) 0.0008 0.0004 0.0002 0.0002 0.0005 0.0004 0.0002 0.0002 0.0002

0.0003

0.0005

0.0005

0.0005 0.0005 0.0013

0.0006

0.0007

0.0003

0.0004 0.0004 0.0003 0.0003 0.0002 0.0003

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Lead

  Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16 Oct-16 Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17 Dec-17
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) 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.00009 0.0002 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

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Nickel

  Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16 Oct-16 Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17 Dec-17
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) 0.0067 0.0035 0.0044 0.0053 0.0034 0.0014 0.0012 0.0013 0.0015

0.0019

0.0018

0.0009

0.0007 0.0008 0.0013

0.0009

0.0006

0.0005

0.0007 0.0006 0.0007 0.0006 0.0010 0.0009

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Zinc

  Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16 Oct-16 Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17 Dec-17
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) 0.0061 0.01 0.0285 0.0192 0.0311 0.0218 0.0203 0.0145 0.0338

0.0305

0.0494

0.0220

0.0529 0.0269 0.0305

0.0200

0.0201

0.0237

0.0342 0.0308 0.0188 0.0182 0.0159 0.0157

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Suspended Solids

  Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16 Oct-16 Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17 Dec-17
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) 2 2 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 0.9 0.9 1 1 2 0.9 1 0.9 1 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Radium-226

  Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16 Oct-16 Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17 Dec-17
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) 0.007 0.006 0.005 0.007 0.007 0.007 0.004 0.006 0.007

0.005

0.005

0.008

0.006 0.006 0.006

0.008

0.006

0.009

0.008 0.006 0.007 0.005 0.004 0.007

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — pH

  Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16 Oct-16 Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17 Dec-17
Authorized Maximum pH 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5
Cigar Lake Level pH 6.76 6.87 6.85 6.69 6.61 6.57 6.81 6.66 6.70

6.82

7.42

7.17

7.08 7.06 7.13

7.25

7.31

7.40

7.26 6.99 7.23 7.47 7.54 7.33
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

  Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16 Oct-16 Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17 Dec-17
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) 0.0058 0.0092 0.0096 0.0069 0.0049 0.0062 0.0088 0.0071 0.0034

0.0043

0.0039

0.0046

0.0052 0.0037 0.0025

0.0038

0.0055

0.0049

0.0039 0.0018 0.0037 0.0056 0.0035 0.0052

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Uranium

  Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16 Oct-16 Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17 Dec-17
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) 0.0433 0.0062 0.0063 0.0056 0.0027 0.0021 0.0018 0.0016 0.0033

0.0072

0.0018

0.0054

0.0039 0.0031 0.0032

0.0018

0.0017

0.0011

0.0011 0.0007 0.0008 0.0008 0.0006 0.0006

Cigar Lake Monitoring Results

Treated Water Quality — Molybdenum

  Jan-16 Feb-16 Mar-16 Apr-16 May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16 Oct-16 Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17 Dec-17
Cigar Lake Level (mg/L)

0.0229

0.0154

0.0071

0.0077

0.0205

0.0588

0.1296

0.0434 0.0208

0.0221

0.0336

0.0325

0.0568 0.0288 0.0345

0.0249

0.0377

0.0522

0.0925 0.0736 0.0685 0.0788 0.2100 0.0563

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.

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Q3 2017
Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment Standard - see note (µg/m³) 70 70 70 70 70 60 60
Annual Average (µg/m³) 10.8 7.6 16.0 12.2 14.9 11.2 20.6

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

April 19, 2018

Incident Electrical contact
Details

A contract worker cut into an energized electrical cable during work at the construction camp at the Cigar Lake operation. The worker was not injured and reported to the site nurse for assessment as a precaution.

Corrective Action

Work at the camp was suspended immediately and an investigation initiated to determine the cause of the incident. Provincial and federal regulators have been notified of the incident.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating N/A - not applicable

Read more

Date

April 19, 2018

Incident Electrical contact
Details

A contract worker cut into an energized electrical cable during work at the construction camp at the Cigar Lake operation. The worker was not injured and reported to the site nurse for assessment as a precaution.

Corrective Action

Work at the camp was suspended immediately and an investigation initiated to determine the cause of the incident. Provincial and federal regulators have been notified of the incident.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating N/A

 

Date

April 12, 2018

Incident Reportable release
Details

Approximately 21 pounds of ammonia was released to the atmosphere, due to a leaking valve on a condenser at freeze plant No. 1.

Corrective Action

The valve has been taken out of service pending repair and the cause is being investigated. Provincial and federal regulators have been notified of the incident.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date

April 6, 2018

Incident Smoke alarm
Details

Cigar Lake's emergency response team (ERT) responded to a smoke alarm at the permanent camp at 3 a.m.

Corrective Action

The ERT investigated and determined that the alarm was triggered by a malfunctioning water heater in a mechanical room at the camp. The water heater was taken out of service. The incident was recorded in Cameco’s incident reporting system. The CNSC was notified.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating N/A

 

Date

March 15, 2018

Incident Fire alarm system activation
Details

The Cigar Lake construction camp fire alarm system was activated at approximately 10:15 pm. The emergency response team (ERT) was activated and the CNSC was notified.

Corrective Action

The ERT responded in accordance with emergency procedures and verified that it was a false alarm.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating N/A

 

Date

February 26, 2018

Incident Reportable release
Details

Approximately 100 millilitres of ammonia was released outside of freeze plant No. 2 due to a defective o-ring within a valve assembly on a condenser.

Corrective Action

The leak was detected, the valve repaired and the plant returned to service.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date

February 14, 2018

Incident Fire alarm system activation
Details

The Cigar Lake construction camp fire alarm system was activated at approximately 9:30 pm. The emergency response team (ERT) was activated and the CNSC was notified.

Corrective Action

The ERT responded in accordance with emergency procedures and verified that it was a false alarm.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating N/A

 

Date

February 12, 2018

Incident Fire alarm system activation
Details

The Cigar Lake permanent camp fire alarm system was activated at approximately 2:00 am. The emergency response team (ERT) was activated and the CNSC was notified.

Corrective Action

The ERT responded in accordance with emergency procedures and verified that it was a false alarm.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating N/A

 

Date

January 24, 2018

Incident Leak of treated water
Details

Routine monitoring of water levels in a lined storage pond that is part of the water treatment system at the Cigar Lake operation determined that approximately 1,200 cubic metres of treated water had leaked from the pond.

Corrective Action

The storage pond was taken out of service until the pond liner can be inspected and repaired.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date

January 20, 2018

Incident Transportation incident
Details

Upon arrival at McClean Lake mill, a slurry tote was discovered to have a small amount of ore slurry visible on the tote and trailer deck. An inspection of the road was conducted and no evidence of slurry was found. Testing confirmed that the valve on the tote had failed.

Corrective Action

The tote and trailer were cleaned and scanned at McClean Lake and returned to Cigar Lake. Ore slurry transportation was suspended while all remaining tote valves were inspected and leak tested before being put back into service. The CNSC was notified.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date

January 3, 2018

Incident Fire in contractor storage facility
Details

At approximately 3:30pm, a fire was identified in a contractor’s storage facility. The emergency response team (ERT) responded and extinguished the fire. Personnel were not at risk from the fire nor was there risk to other areas of the site.

Corrective Action

The potential cause of the fire is currently unknown and under investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, Cameco will work with the contracting company to put in place any corrective actions identified. Both provincial and federal regulators have been notified of the incident.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date

December 6, 2017

Incident Ammonia release
Details

After a temporary power outage at the freeze plant, an valve on a pipe leaked, releasing approximately 14 kilograms of ammonia gas.

Corrective Action

The system was safely taken out of service and the defective valve was repaired.  The cause of the incident is being investigated.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date

August 6, 2017

Incident Reportable release
Details

Investigation of an equipment failure at a refrigeration plant at the mine site that occurred on Aug. 6, 2017 has determined that an estimated 700 pounds of ammonia gas was released to the atmosphere as a result of the incident.

Corrective Action

The equipment was taken out of service at the time of the initial incident pending repair and investigation which is still underway.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date

July 26, 2017

Incident Reportable release
Details

Approximately 10 pounds of ammonia gas was released inside a refrigeration plant at the mine site that is part of the ground-freezing system.

Corrective Action

The refrigeration plant shut down immediately and was placed in a safe state until repairs were made. Other freeze plants at the site were inspected following the incident and no issues were identified.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

Date

July 4, 2017

Incident Reportable release
Details Approximately two to three pounds of ammonia gas was released inside a refrigeration plant, which is part of the ground-freezing system at the mine site.
Corrective Action

The leak was detected and addressed immediately with the plant’s exhaust fans clearing the air of ammonia. Cameco’s investigation determined the cause to be a leaking seal on a valve.

Cameco Environmental Effect Rating 1

 

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 11 pounds 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

 

 

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.