Cameco reopening Port Hope, keeps Cigar Lake on hold

Miner Cameco said it will be restarting operations at its Port Hope conversion facility’s uranium hexafluoride plant in Ontario as well as the Blind River refinery in the province, though it will not pull its Cigar Lake mine from its operational suspension.
Cameco reopening Port Hope, keeps Cigar Lake on hold Cameco reopening Port Hope, keeps Cigar Lake on hold Cameco reopening Port Hope, keeps Cigar Lake on hold Cameco reopening Port Hope, keeps Cigar Lake on hold Cameco reopening Port Hope, keeps Cigar Lake on hold

The Cigar Lake mine in Canada

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Both, which had been placed in a four-week-long shutdown early April due to fears over the spread of COVID-19, will begin work again during the week of May 18, and are expected to reach regular production the following week.

Cameco said essential crews at its assets would perform maintenance work during the shutdown that had been scheduled for summer.

"The workforce situation has now stabilized, providing Cameco with increased certainty around the availability of necessary personnel to operate the UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) plant," it said.

"With the appropriate conditions currently in place to resume normal operations, we have decided to return both the plant and the refinery to production."

The balance of its production locations in Ontario, including its uranium dioxide production at the Port Hope conversion facility and fuel bundle production at Cameco Fuel Manufacturing, each continued to operate during the suspension.

One location that has stopped work and will continue on that plan is the Cigar Lake uranium operation, which the company confirmed will see no change in status.

"The operation remains in a safe state of care and maintenance for an indeterminate duration, as pandemic conditions continue to challenge a number of northern Saskatchewan communities," Cameco officials said, noting that it is continuing to monitor the situation there closely.

Cigar Lake and the McClean Lake mill were each idled in late March.