COGEMA Resources Inc. is one of the world's leading uranium exploration, mining and milling companies. From its head office in Saskatoon, it is active in the development of large-scale, high-grade uranium deposits in northern Saskatchewan. Since beginning exploration in the 1960s, COGEMA Resources has invested more than $1 billion in exploration, construction and operations in the north. It is wholly owned by the French AREVA Group, the world leader in nuclear power and connectors.
COGEMA Resources is the operator and majority owner (70%) of uranium mining and milling facilities at McClean Lake, and is the sole owner and operator of the Cluff Lake mine. The company also operates the proposed Midwest uranium project (54.8% owner), and holds interests in the Cigar Lake (37.1%), McArthur River (30.2%), and Key Lake (16.7%) operations. All of these mines are located in the Athabasca Basin, 600-700 km north of Saskatoon; about half of the mine site workers are residents of northern Saskatchewan, primarily of Aboriginal descent.
Corporate involvement in Saskatchewan began in the 1960s through MOKTA, which discovered the Cluff Lake uranium deposits. AMOK was later created to develop and operate the project. In 1984 COGEMA Canada Ltd. arrived in Saskatchewan, and three years later bought out MOKTA's shares in AMOK. The company moved its head office from Montreal to Saskatoon in 1991, and changed its name to COGEMA Resources Inc. in 1993, becoming the sole owner of the Cluff Lake mine. It also became the operator and 70% owner of Minatco, the original owner of the McClean Lake project. Following the Cluff Lake Board of Inquiry, also known as the Bayda Commission, the Cluff Lake mine began production in 1980. By the time production ceased twenty-two years later, the mine had produced over 28 million kg of uranium oxide (U3O8) and some gold. Following an extensive environmental review and public discussion, Cluff Lake is entering a decommissioning phase to return the site to a safe and productive natural state suitable for future uses. Discovery of the McClean Lake uranium deposits occurred in 1979. Following change of majority ownership and operatorship to COGEMA Resources, as well as extensive environmental studies and public and regulatory reviews, McClean Lake began mining and site development in 1995. The uranium mill at McClean Lake is the most innovative in the world: it is capable of processing low- to high-grade uranium from a series of on-site mines as well as the Cigar Lake and the proposed Midwest mines. The first uranium concentrate was produced in 1999. In late 2000, McClean Lake's environmental management system achieved ISO 14001 certification In mid-2004, COGEMA Resources had 210 employees at the McClean Lake and Cluff Lake mine sites; its 2003 revenues totaled about $230 million.