Thirty-five abandoned uranium mine and exploration sites are located around the Uranium City area. Ore was not processed at these mines, but was shipped to the uranium mills at Lorado and Eldorado. Because there are no tailings present, these mines are called satellite mines. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Committee does not require licensing of these sites because of their low nuclear inventory. However, the sites do pose public safety hazards and in some cases, have potential impacts on the environment.
Remediation work will be ongoing at these sites for many years. This includes backfilling adits and deep trenches; sealing shafts, raises and other openings to the underground; demolishing buildings; cleaning up mining debris; and burying non-hazardous waste in waste rock. Hazardous materials will be shipped to licensed landfills. Radiation is measured at the sites, and risk mitigation measures are implemented whenever necessary to protect the public (e.g., covering the elevated radiation areas with clean soil). Unstable slopes are being re-contoured. The long-term stability of the underground area is assessed and access is restricted to ensure public safety.
The work season in northern Saskatchewan is short: from late May until mid-October. The remediation work can only be done when snow does not cover the mine openings and debris. Mobilization of materials to Uranium City is generally by ice road in late winter. Access to some sites is difficult over land or by water.
- Submitted reports to Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment for seven sites where remediation is complete. The next and final step for these sites is their transfer to the Institutional Control Program upon approval by the MOE. This Program, managed by the Ministry of Economy, monitors and maintains decommissioned and remediated mine sites over the long term.
- Installed two stainless steel caps on raises. This Canadian Mining Journal article describes this novel closure method for mine openings.
- Reviewed historical information to gain a detailed understanding of the mines. The information is used to create 2-D maps and interactive 3-D models of the underground mines.
- Detailed assessment of the stability of the underground mine workings at Rix-Athabasca Leonard and Smitty mines.
- Qualified 15 consulting firms through competitive bid process to provide engineering and science services in support of the Satellite Sites Program.
- Phase 1 site assessment of Lorado Mine and Uranium Ridge Mine.
- Detailed post-remediation radiation surveys and radiation risk assessment.
- Continued environmental monitoring program.
- Door-to-door consultation on land use of the Project CLEANS sites in Uranium City. Sixty percent of households were interviewed.
- Risk assessment, remediation, temporary safety measures and monitoring at those sites where work commenced in previous years
- Five mine openings were fitted with permanent closures
The following site were included in the remediation work:
Lorado Uranium Mines Limited
Meta Uranium Mines Ltd.
Consolidated Nicholson Mines Ltd.
Consolidated Beta Gamma Mines Ltd., Tena Claim
Gulch Mines Ltd.
Jesko Uranium Mines Ltd.
Nesbitt Mining and Exploration Ltd., Reed Bay
Black Bay Uranium Mines Ltd., Murmac Bay
The following sites were included in the remediation work:
- Amax Athabasca Uranium Mines Ltd., Site 1 mine site
- Amax Athabasca Uranium Mines Ltd., Site 2 mine site
- Amax Athabasca Uranium Mines Ltd., Site 3 mine site
- Rix-Athabasca Uranium Mines Ltd., Leonard mine site
- Rix-Athabasca Uranium Mines Ltd., Smitty mine site
- Rix-Athabasca Uranium Mines Ltd., No.10 adit site
- Beta Gamma Mines Ltd., mine site
- Cayzor Athabasca Mines Ltd., mine site
- St. Michael Mines Ltd., mine site
- Baska Uranium Mines Ltd., Dot Claim mine site
- Beaverlodge - Mickey Lake mine site
- National Explorations Ltd., Keiller Adit site
- National Explorations Ltd., Pat Claim mine and camp sites
- Lake Cinch/Cenex Ltd., mine site
- Pitch-Ore Uranium Mines Ltd., Beaverlodge site
- Nesbitt LaBine Uranium Mines Ltd., Eagle sites
- Nesbitt LaBine Uranium Mines Ltd., ABC mine site
- Uranium Ridges Mines Ltd., mine site