Cigar Lake

  • Cigar Lake is the world's highest grade uranium mine and is located in northern Saskatchewan, Canada.
  • Since commissioning in 2014, the site has produced a total of 82.9 million pounds (100% basis).  Commercial operation began in May 2015.
  • As the operator, Cameco developed an innovative jet-boring technique specifically for this challenging deposit.
  • Cigar Lake's ore is processed 70 km northeast, at the McClean Lake mill, operated by Orano.
Operation(As of December 31, 2019)
Production(As of December 31, 2018)

2019 Q4 Update


Total packaged production from Cigar Lake was 18.0 million pounds U3O8; our share was 9.0 million pounds, achieving our forecast.

During the year, we:

  • completed and commissioned the freeze plant expansion project
  • implemented an extended summer shutdown, during which maintenance activities were completed as well as a capital upgrade to the mine exhaust fans
  • executed production activities from three production tunnels in the eastern part of the ore body
  • extended our surface brine distribution infrastructure and expanded our ground freezing program ensuring continued frozen ore inventory growth in alignment with our long-term production plans

Cigar Lake Production

Cameco's Share (million lbs)

3 months ended
December 31
Year ended
December 31
2019 2018 2019 2018 2019 Plan 2020 Plan
2.7 2.4 9.0 9.0 9.0 9.0

Underground development

In alignment with our production plans, underground mine development restarted in 2019. Development included focus on two new production panels in the eastern portion of the ore body along with initial access development towards the western portion. Development in these specific areas will continue in 2020 to ensure new production panels are available in alignment with long-term production plans.

Labour relations

Orano reached a new three-year collective agreement with unionized employees at the McClean Lake mill. The previous contract expired on May 31, 2019.

Planning for the future


In 2020, we expect to produce 18 million packaged pounds at Cigar Lake; our share is 9.0 million pounds.

Our 2020 production plan for the Cigar Lake mine includes an extended shutdown during the third quarter. The shut-down will consist of a four-week production outage, preceded by a two-week maintenance period with mine start-up planned before the end of the third quarter.

In 2020, we expect to:

  • continue surface freeze drilling and complete construction and commissioning of the freeze distribution infrastructure expansion in support of future production
  • continue underground mine development and complete three new production tunnels as well as expand ventilation and access drifts in alignment with the long-term mine plan
  • expand underground piping and infrastructure towards new production panels required to sustain production

See full Quarterly Report

Environment & Safety

Worker safety, protection of the environment and proper decommissioning after mining is completed, are of the utmost importance to Cameco.

See more

Reserves & Resources

Our mineral reserves and resources are the foundation of our company and fundamental to our success.

See more

Caution about forward-looking information

This page may contain forward-looking information that is based upon the assumptions and subject to the material risks discussed on page 2 of Cameco's most recent Quarterly MD&A.