May 17, 2020

Cameco Corp Encounters Delays at Cigar Lake; Output Expected to Start in 2015

Cameco corporation
Mine site
McClean Lake mill
2 min
Cameco Corp Encounters Delays at Cigar Lake; Output Expected to Start in 2015
Uranium miner CameoCorporation (TSX:CCO) announced orebodies at its Cigar Lake project in Saskatchewan would not be milled until early 2015 due to freez...

Uranium miner Cameo Corporation (TSX:CCO) announced orebodies at its Cigar Lake project in Saskatchewan would not be milled until early 2015 due to freezing problems.

The Canadian company said ground freezing, which is used to freeze the ore and ground around the mine site, had not advanced as quickly as expected. Cameo said it would provide an update to its 2014 production target in its secondary quarter results on July 31 when the assessment is completed.

"Based on early indications from our assessment we expect the production schedule could shift by a couple of months. Although a minor change to the schedule, it means ore that was expected to be milled at the end of the year, will shift into early 2015 thereby affecting our 2014 production target," the company said.

Cameo maintained its long-term goal of mining 18 million pounds annually from Cigar Lake by 2018.

The McClean Lake mill, which had not yet started processing Cigar Lake ore, will temporarily disable jet-boring at the site to allow the orebody to freeze more thoroughly in the area.

"We have determined that freezing has not advanced as quickly as expected in some localized areas of the mine. Given that the McClean Lake mill has not yet started processing Cigar Lake ore, we have decided to temporarily stop jet-boring at Cigar Lake to allow the ore body to freeze more thoroughly in these areas,” Cameco said.

“The additional freezing will allow more continuous production at the mine once the mill is operational.”

Uranium deposits at Cigar Lake occur at depths ranging from 410 m to 450 m below the surface which is where the water-saturated Athabasca sandstone meets the underlying basement rock. To prevent water from entering the production areas of the mine, the ore zone and surrounding ground is being frozen by circulating a brine solution through cased holes drilled from both surface and underground.

Cameco is the majority owner and operator of Cigar Lake with a 50.025 percent stake. Additional partners on the project include Areva Resources Canada Inc. (37.1 percent), Idemitsu Canada Resources Ltd (7.875 percent) and Tepco Resources Inc. (5 percent). 

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Jul 20, 2021

British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars

3 min
The ever-increasing need for electric vehicles is mounting pressure on British Lithium as the 2035 deadline inches closer

The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change. 

It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.

British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad. 

Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe 

After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company. 

“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”

Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector. 

Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial. 

Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production

“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”

The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction. 

Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably. 

“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.

“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”

Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK. 

“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”

Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.

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