3rd Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Decommissioning and Environmental Restoration - 2016 Sept. 11-14

Presented at:
3rd Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Decommissioning and Environmental Restoration
2016 Sept. 11-14
Ottawa, Canada
Session Title:
Session T5: Uranium Mining & Milling Waste Management

A. Kaczowka (Queens University)
K. Kyser (Queens University)
T. Kotzer (Cameco Corporation)
C. Revering (Cameco Corporation)


Cigar Lake is a polymetallic uranium orebody with a complex geochemistry and mineralogy. Minerals and mineraloid phases represent significant elemental controls and have specific properties that affect strategies for mining, milling and mine tailings management. Here geochemical, mineralogical, geological and geospatial characteristics of the Cigar Lake orebody are integrated to provide a geometallurgical, or geologically predictive overview to guide uranium mining and milling.

The mineralogy of the uranium ores was characterized using semi-quantitative techniques includingXRD, SEM, MLA, shortwave infrared spectroscopy, and optical petrography. Electron microprobe analysis and LA ICP-MS were used to measure the chemical compositions and element deportment of selected minerals.

Over 35 minerals have been identified within the Cigar Lake orebody, with 20 minerals (i.e. uraninite, coffinite,illite, muscovite, chlorite,hematite,gersdorffite, chalcopyrite, cobaltite,galena, kaolinite, pyrite, niccolite,bornite, chalcocite, sphalerite, pyrrhotite, quartz, calcite, and siderite in order of decreasing overall abundance) accounting for >98wt. % of the deposit and determining the main elemental control. The spatial distribution of these minerals is controlled by a combination of the original mineral paragenesis, but also by redox and pH conditions of later fluids that accessed the deposit through lithostratigraphic permeability and tectonic structures.

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