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Freeze hole drilling with W100 at McArthur River, Canada

Project Description:

Cameco, world leading supplier of uranium for use as fuel for nuclear power stations, and their contractor, Cubex Ltd, had to look for new innovative technology in order to mine the uranium ore deposit at McArthur  River. In order to mine the deposit located at depths between 530 and 640 meter it was necessary to control groundwater inflow by freezing the ground to -40ºC. The biggest challenge was drilling the 105 mm holes for the freeze pipes. Air hammer drilling was impossible due to the water inflow. Wassara W100 Drilling System was the solution


75 freeze holes were successfully drilled to a depth of 120 meter each. The average rate of penetration was 10 times faster compared to conventional drilling technology.



Wassara W100



Tubex XL 115



Cubex high pressure pump module, 2600 psi


Drilling fluid

Clean water


Drill pipe

Wassara Ø 89 mm and 142,9 mm casing



Cubex Megamatic 6200W



Mixture of uranium ore, sands, clays and fractures with high pressure water, up to 1500 psi.