Canadian Mining Journal

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URANIUM: Cameco, Orano Canada suspending Sask. operations due to COVID-19



Cigar Lake mine Credit: Cameco

Cigar Lake mine Credit: Cameco

SASKATCHEWAN – Uranium companies Cameco and Orano Canada are suspending mining and processing activities at their operations in the northern part of the province due to the COVID-19 threat.

The two companies jointly agreed to suspend production activities: Cameco operates the high-grade underground Cigar Lake mine, with processing of the ore at Orano’s McClean Lake mill.

A production ramp-down will take place in the coming days ahead of a four-week care and maintenance period, which may be extended as the situation unfolds.

Government precautions and restrictions, coupled with concerns among leaders of remote communities and challenges with maintaining physical distancing at the operations all factored into the companies’ decisions to wind down their operations.

The operations produced approximately 4 million lb. U3O8 thus far this year; Cameco’s share is 50% of this output.

In its release, Cameco did indicate that its 2020 attributable Cigar Lake production guidance of 9 million lb. of U3O8 may be impacted. In addition to the Saskatchewan operation, the company holds a 40% stake in the Inkai in-situ uranium mine in Kazakhstan, which churned out a total of 8.3 million lb. of U3O8 last year.

Cameco has a 50% stake in the Cigar Lake mine (37.1% Orano Canada, a French nuclear company, 7.9% Idemitsu Canada, a Japanese petroleum company, and 5% TEPCO Resources, also known as Tokyo Electric Power Company).

For more information, visit www.Cameco.com.