The start of jet boring at Canada's Cigar Lake uranium mine has been delayed by around six months until the first quarter of 2014.
Mine operator Cameco said that during commissioning of the underground ore handling facilities in the mine, it identified 'additional work' that will delay jet boring in ore.
It also said that 'further mill modifications' are required at AREVA's McClean Lake mill, where the ore will be processed. Ore processing is now expected to being 'by the end of the second quarter of 2014,' Cameco said.
Cameco is also 50% owner of the Cigar Lake project, with co-investors AREVA (37%), Idemitsu Canada Resources (8%) and TEPCO Resources (5%).
In June, Cameco announced that jet-boring operations would begin 'this summer' with the first packaged pounds expected towards the end of 2013. Cigar Lake was forecast to produce 300,000 pounds U3O8 during 2013, but this will not be achieved. Cameco said that it will revise its five-year production forecast in its 2013 annualreport, when "further progress" on commissioning of the mine and mill is made.
Construction of the Cigar Lake mine is currently 97% complete and commissioning of mining systems is well advanced, according to Cameco.
Cigar Lake, which was first discovered in 1981, is one of the world's highest grade uranium deposits with proven and probable reserves of 216.7 million pounds U3O8 at an average grade of 18.3%.
Photo: Cigar Lake progress (Source: Cameco)