Cigar Lake Mine: the World’s Largest Uranium Producer

Cigar Lake Mine: the World’s Largest Uranium Producer

Overview

This synopsis highlights Cigar Lake, one of the world’s top uranium mines (Figure 1). With grades 100 times higher than average, Cigar Lake is known as a hallmark for unconformity-related uranium mineralization . We provide some insights into the geology and mining of this remarkable uranium deposit. Figure 1. Cigar Lake Mine, northern Saskatchewan, Canada (source: Cameco). Introduction

Uranium is a relatively common element available in soil, water and rocks – particularly in quartz-rich rocks like granite . With an average abundance in the Earth’s crust of 2.8 parts per million, uranium is twice as common as molybdenum or tin and 500 times more abundant than gold. Elements can have variants that are known as isotopes. Uranium has six naturally occurring isotopes. The two main uranium isotopes are U-238 (99.270%) and U-235 (0.725%). All uranium isotopes are radioactive, i.e. they break down (or decay) into other lighter elements […]

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