Based on the success of the SABER tests this year, Denison and Orano plan to assess the potential mining method for future exploitation of the McClean Lake and Midwest uranium projects (Orano 75%, Denison 25%).
McClean Lake is a joint venture of Orano (77.5% and operator), Denison (22.5%) and OURD Canada (7.5%).
Saber technology explained
SABER is a no-entry open pit mining method that uses a high pressure water jet placed at the bottom of a borehole to dig a mining cavity. The spoil from the excavation process is airlifted to the surface, separated and stored for processing.
SABER is seen as an innovative mining method that could potentially allow economic access to relatively small high-grade deposits in the Athabasca Basin that are either too small or too deep to be economically mined by mining methods. open or underground.
It is unique in that the mining method can be selective and scalable, which has the potential to offer flexibility and is therefore ideally suited to the ever-changing conditions of the uranium market. One advantage is its short ramp-up of several months instead of years.
The SABER method is considered environmentally friendly due to its small surface footprint compared to conventional surface or underground mining methods. Reducing water and electricity consumption also contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving sustainability. In addition, as a no-entry mining method, the radiological exposure of mining workers is minimized.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)