This article is about the uranium mining region near Lake Athabasca. Not to be confused with the drainage basin of the Athabasca River.
The Athabasca Basin
is a region of Northern Saskatchewan
and Alberta Canada
that is best known as the world's leading source of high grade uranium
. It currently supplies about 20% of the world's uranium.
The basin is located just to the south of Lake Athabasca
. The basin covers about 100,000 square kilometres in Saskatchewan and a small portion of Alberta. The surface of the basin consists of main sandstone
sediment varying from 100 to 1000 metres in depth. The uranium is mostly found at the base of this sandstone, at the point where it meets the basement.
Uranium was discovered in the region in the 1940s. The first mine in the area was the Rabbit Lake Mine
, which was discovered in 1968 by Gulf Mineral Resources and opened in 1975. The most important current mine is Cameco
's McArthur River mine
, the world's largest high-grade uranium mine. For several decades the price of uranium has been quite low, and there was little activity in the Basin. Since 2003, however, the price of uranium has increased considerably and the Basin is once again a focus of attention. Much of the best regions are controlled by Cameco, though smaller firms have in recent years found deposits in areas that had previously been overlooked.Dike
in the Athabasca Basin are related to the giant Mackenzie dike...