Mining test showcases SABRE potential (World Nuclear News – November 4, 2021)

SABRE is a non-entry, surface-based mining method that uses a high-pressure water jet placed at the bottom of a drill hole to excavate a mining cavity. The cuttings from the excavation process are then air lifted to the surface, separated and stockpiled. The method is the culmination of a mining equipment invention and development initiative that began in 2004.

Denison and Orano – the joint venture partners in McClean Lake Joint Venture (MLJV) – said the final stage of a five-year field test was completed from May to September 2021 with four mining cavities successfully excavated to produce around 1500 tonnes of “high-value” ore with grades in the range of 4%-11% U3O8.

“The programme was concluded with no safety, environmental or radiological incidents and confirmed the ability to achieve key operating objectives associated with the test programme – including targets for cavity diameter, rates of recovery, and mine production rates,” the companies said.

Most of the ore recovered from the test mining programme has now been transferred to the McClean Lake mill, and is expected to be processed by the end of the year.

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