TORONTO, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Cameco Corp said on Monday that it needed to complete additional work at its Cigar Lake project, delaying the start-up of the high-grade uranium mine until the first quarter of 2014.
The company, Canada’s largest uranium producer, also said more mill modifications were needed before the ore can be processed at the nearby McClean Lake mill, which is operated by Areva SA. It now expects processing to start in the second quarter of 2014.
The latest delay will have a minor impact on forecast uranium production in 2013, but Cameco said it did not expect a material effect on the capital cost of the project.
Cigar Lake, located in the uranium-rich Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan, was originally expected to open in 2007, but was twice delayed by flooding. Construction of the mine is now 97 percent complete.
Due to the flooding risk, the ore body must be frozen before mining, with the ore removed by a jet boring process. Cameco said it identified additional work during the commissioning process that will delay jet boring of the ore.
The company said it planned to provide an update on production and costs at Cigar Lake in early 2014.