SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA – November 2008
Michigan-based ROV operator SeaView Systems is using a Seaeye Falcon DR ROV, a small robot fitted with an extensive suite of survey equipment, to assist with the rehabilitation of the world’s largest undeveloped uranium mine deposit.
Toronto-based Cameco Corporation operates the Cigar Lake mine in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada, which was first identified as a major source of high-grade uranium nearly 20 years ago and was initially due to start production in 2007. However, in April 2006, a shaft intended to provide ventilation to the main mine head hit a high-volume ground water layer and a valve on a 2″ grout line leading to this water zone failed, resulting in the flooding of the mineshaft.
Canadian engineering firm Nuytco Research of British Columbia was contracted by Cameco to assist in locating and plugging the broken grout line to allow the shaft to be dewatered and rehabilitated. In October 2006, a plugging operation was underway with both Nuytco and SeaView personnel on site when the main mine suffered a roof cave-in resulting in one of the mineshafts flooding. SeaView was assigned to help investigate the source of the inflow.
Personnel from SeaView Systems are using a submersible Seaeye Falcon DR to provide visual and sonar imaging of the mine workings and measure parameters like water flow and temperature. Meanwhile, Cameco is pumping water from the mine to create water flow to assist in identification of the inflow source. SeaView’s Matthew Cook says that while the work is time consuming it is progressing steadily and providing good information to the investigation team.
Once the source of the inflow is identified, a remediation plan will be developed to enable mining to get underway.
SeaView Systems is a remotely operated vehicle services company based in Michigan, US. SeaView specializes in performing long distance pipeline and tunnel investigations.