McArthur River/Key Lake

  • McArthur River/Key Lake, located in northern Saskatchewan, Canada is the world's largest high-grade uranium operation.
  • Due to continued market weakness, in July 2018, Cameco made the decision to extend the planned 10-month production suspension of this operation for an indeterminate duration.
  • In service since 1999 and 1983 respectively, Cameco operates the ISO 14001 certified locations, which have collectively produced 535 million lbs using a variety of mining methods.
Operation(As of December 31, 2018)
McArthur River Reserves(As of December 31, 2018)

2019 Q1 Update


There was no production in the first quarter as a result of the planned production suspension that began in February 2018 and continues for an indeterminate duration due to continued weakness in the uranium market.

McArthur River/Key Lake Production

Cameco's Share (million lbs)

3 months ended
March 31
2019 2018 Change 2019 Plan
- 0.1 (100)% -



Technical report highlights

In the first quarter, we filed a technical report for the McArthur River operation under Canadian Securities Administrators’ National Instrument 43-101, which reflects a significant improvement in economics since the last report in 2012, and highlights the value this asset is expected to create when it comes back into operation. Key highlights of the report include:

  • increase in mineral reserve estimate at December 31, 2018 of 9.1% compared to December 31, 2017
  • estimated mine life of 23 years based on a production rate of 18 million pounds U3O8 per year upon production restart
  • estimated capital cost for the McArthur River and Key Lake operations of $658 (our share) million compared to $2.5 billion (our share) in the 2012 technical report
  • estimated average operating costs per pound of $14.97 per pound U3O8 over the mine life ($19.23 per pound in the 2012 technical report)
  • estimated capital expenditures in year of restart of approximately $8 million at McArthur River and $30 million at Key Lake will be required to replace equipment and return processing circuits to their full production capabilities
  • estimated to take a minimum of nine months to complete critical projects, maintenance readiness checks, and sufficient recruitment and training before mine and mill will restart
  • assumes in year one, work to restart operations commences on January 1 with approximately 4 million pounds of production in that year, and assumes in years two through 21, 18 million pounds of annual production, with rampdown of production in years 22 and 23
  • estimated cash operating and capital costs to maintain both operations during the production suspension shutdown of between $6 million and $7 million per month (our share)

Caution about forward-looking information relating to the McArthur River technical report

This discussion of the key highlights of the McArthur River technical report is forward-looking information, and actual results could vary significantly. Material risks that could lead to different results include: the risk that our expectations regarding the value of this asset prove incorrect; mineral reserves are lower than estimated; actual mine life is shorter than expected; anticipated production rates cannot be achieved; required capital costs and operating costs are higher than expected, either during the shutdown or after operation resumes; and that it takes longer than expected to restart the mine and mill. In presenting this forward-looking information, we have made material assumptions, including assumptions about the value of this asset; mineral reserves; mine life; production rates; capital and operating costs; and the timing requirements for resuming operation. Other material risks and assumptions are identified in sections 24.4 and 24.5 of the technical report, elsewhere in this MD&A and in our annual MD&A and annual information form.

See full Quarterly Report

Environment & Safety

Worker safety, environmental monitoring 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.