Cameco, Orano operations put on pause

Cameco’s Cigar Lake uranium mine and Orano Canada's McClean Lake mill, where the ore is processed, have been placed into temporary shutdown in northern Saskatchewan as concerns over the COVID-19 virus grow
Cameco, Orano operations put on pause Cameco, Orano operations put on pause Cameco, Orano operations put on pause Cameco, Orano operations put on pause Cameco, Orano operations put on pause

Cigar Lake mine is located in northern Saskatchewan, Canada

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The decision to suspend Cigar Lake mine was made in conjunction with Orano to stop production at McClean Lake. Initially, the stoppage is expected to last four weeks, with the respective asset owners convening at that point to determine together if they will end or extend the suspension.

Both Cameco and Orano Canada have confirmed that there have not been any cases of COVID-19 at their sites to date.

"We are in unprecedented and challenging times," Cameco president and CEO Tim Gitzel said.

"Our leadership team took a measured approach and weighed many factors in assessing the situation both globally and locally to make this decision, which takes into account the specific and unique circumstances at Cigar Lake, a remote, isolated fly-in/fly-out northern Saskatchewan operation."

Orano Canada president and CEO Jim Corman noted that the companies and their workforces were "all in this together" as they work in tandem with interconnected communities.

"This is a difficult time for many, and we understand the concerns we are hearing. McClean Lake will safely be put into care and maintenance within the next few days, and we will continue to assess the situation, always keeping health and safety at the forefront," Corman added.

Cigar Lake normally employs about 300 people, out of which 35 will remain on site while the mine is under care and maintenance. At McClean Lake, its normal 160-worker payroll will be reduced to about 50 for regular monitoring and maintenance.

The Cigar Lake operation is owned by Cameco (50.025%), Orano Canada (37.1%), Idemitsu Canada Resources (7.875%) and TEPCO Resources (5.0%), and is operated by Cameco.