Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin is home to the world's highest-known grade of uranium. When Rio Tinto was considering advanced exploration options for a uranium mine in the basin, it turned to Barr for a prefeasibility study of the surface infrastructure needed to support shaft pilot drilling and sinking, and headframe construction. With a focus on the planned exploration activities and mine-water quality and quantity, we prepared prefeasibility-level designs with sufficient detail for advanced exploration planning, provided prefeasibility-level cost estimating, and reviewed environmental assessment and permitting regulations and their applicability to the project.
Barr’s designs included site layout and grading, access roads, water storage and management, mine-water treatment, discharge pipeline for treated effluent, rock stockpiles for clean and special waste, and potable-water and sewage treatment.
Identifying risk is crucial in determining whether a project advances. We worked with the client to identify and review potential cost, schedule, and environmental risks associated with the project’s design and construction. Then, as part of a project-wide risk assessment, we entered those risks into a client-approved risk register and helped develop mitigation strategies. Additionally, we performed value engineering to identify ways to optimize cost and schedule.
Barr also performed a geochemical characterization of potential waste rock, which assessed the potential for acid generation (PAG) and constituents of potential concern (COPCs). This geochemistry study helped to identify lithologies that needed to be managed as waste and to determine the mine’s size and waste management requirements.