Saskatoon

Cameco says Cigar Lake landfill double-fenced to keep wolves at bay

Cameco says it knows the dangers around landfills and predators, and that it took action to upgrade its sites a decade ago.

Company hired wolf expert a decade ago to upgrade sites

Cameco said it remains cautious about reopening its mines in northern Saskatchewan, but September's court win was thought to improve the situation. (Cameco)

Wildlife officers are scouring the bush around Cameco's Cigar Lake mine site in northern Saskatchewan searching for a lone wolf that attacked a worker early Monday morning.

The 26-year-old worker had taken a break just after midnight Monday when he was attacked by the predator less than 100 metres from the permanent camp. He was rescued by a security guard and airlifted to Saskatoon.

Cameco characterized the attack as "unprovoked."

This is the third wolf attack in 12 years in northern Saskatchewan.

Miner Fred Desjarlais survived a New Year's Eve attack in 2004 near Cameco's Key Lake mine. The 55-year-old was jogging on a trail near the camp when a lone wolf jumped him. Desjarlais wrestled the animal to the ground and held it until he was rescued.

And then ten months later, 22-year-old geology student Kenton Carnegie was killed by a wolf pack near Points North Landing, a supply camp in the same area as the earlier attack.

An inquest into his death suggested that unfenced landfills attracted the wolves to the area.

Rob Gereghty with Cameco said the company took the inquest findings to heart and hired international wolf expert Paul Paquet to structure the landfills and educate staff on dealing with large predators.

Gereghty said there are clear protocols for disposing of food waste.

"It would be incinerated and then buried in the landfill or, depending on the product, it may just be disposed of in the landfill, but it's buried," he said.

"It's surrounded by a large bear fence which I believe is about eight feet high and is fairly strong, and then there's an electrified fence."

The victim of the latest attack is recovering in hospital.

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