Cameco Cigar Lake

Directional drilling and borehole surveying of surface freeze holes.

The Cigar Lake project is the world's largest undeveloped high-grade uranium deposit. Due to excessive flooding and poor ground conditions on the Cigar Lake mine site, the uranium ore body needed to be frozen before mining could begin. This will improve ground conditions by preventing water inflow and stopping radon migration. Freezing this ground will allow removal of the ore from beneath the ore body with a jet boring mining system.

Working with the contracted drilling company, a series of drill holes going to 450 meters in depth are drilled vertically within 2 meters tolerance parameters from center. A series of holes are then drilled in a 5 meter to 10 meter spacing from one another in order to freeze the ground properly.

IDS provided gyro surveys and drill hole plots every 51 meters on each hole for quality control, assuring the drilling was within the 2 meter tolerance. When and if the drill holes exceeded the tolerance, the drill hole was either put back on track using retrievable wedges or a steerable mud motor. The directional mud motors were more effective than drill wedges after 200 meters in depth because of the poor ground conditions.

IDS worked collectively with the drill contractor and Cameco to ensure the drill holes were kept within tolerance and on the project timeline.

Services Employed

  • 3.75-inch Directional Mud Motor Corrections
  • Drill Hole Plotting
  • North-Seeking Gyro Deviation Surveys
  • WinServ Directional Drilling Software

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