Cameco extends Cigar Lake suspension

Cameco, which first confirmed the temporary closure of its Cigar Lake uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan on March 23, has extended the suspension of production there for an “indeterminate period” as the COVID-19 virus continues to cause concern
Cameco extends Cigar Lake suspension Cameco extends Cigar Lake suspension Cameco extends Cigar Lake suspension Cameco extends Cigar Lake suspension Cameco extends Cigar Lake suspension

Cigar Lake operation is owned by Cameco (50.025%), Orano Canada (37.1%), Idemitsu Canada Resources (7.875%) and TEPCO Resources (5%)

Mining Magazine is making some of its most important coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic freely available to readers. For more coverage, please see our COVID-19 hub. To subscribe to Mining Magazine, click here.

Officials also confirmed the project's McClean Lake mill would remain idled, adding Cameco will continue to monitor the situation as both properties are on care and maintenance.

"With the impact of COVID-19 continuing to escalate, we have determined that the Cigar Lake workforce will need to remain at its current reduced level for a longer duration," Cameco said.

"The precautions and restrictions put in place by the federal and provincial governments, the increasing significant concern among leaders in the remote isolated communities of northern Saskatchewan, and the challenges of maintaining the recommended physical distancing at fly-in/fly-out sites with a full workforce were critical factors Cameco considered in reaching this decision."

Cameco said its skeleton crews at its mines and facilities will continue in-place at the sites to manage essential services.

Chief executive Tim Gitzel said the miner has withdrawn its whole-year outlook. Despite that move, he said Cameco expects its business to be resilient, as "the risk to uranium supply is greater than the risk to uranium demand" and thus long-term supply should be considered.

"With many governments and communities declaring states of emergency in their jurisdictions, our utility customers' nuclear power plants are part of the critical infrastructure needed to guarantee the availability of 24-hour electricity to run hospitals, care facilities and essential services. So our customers are going to need uranium. As a reliable, independent, commercial supplier, we will continue to work with them to help meet their delivery needs," he added.

The Cigar Lake operation is owned by Cameco (50.025%), Orano Canada (37.1%), Idemitsu Canada Resources (7.875%) and TEPCO Resources (5%).