Canadian Mining Journal

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URANIUM: Cameco to suspend McArthur River and Key Lake operations



McArthur River is one of the world’s highest grade, large uranium mines. (Image: Cameco Corporation)

SASKATCHEWAN – Cameco Corp., one of the world’s foremost uranium producers, says continued price weakness is forcing it to suspend operations at the McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill. The suspension will begin by the end of January 2018 and is expected to last 10 months.

The workforces at McArthur River and Key Lake will be reduced by 560 employees and 285 contractors. Only about 160 employees and 50 contractors will remain on the sites to maintain them. A decision about corresponding layoffs in the Saskatoon head office may be made at a later date.

Cameco pointed out that that uranium prices have fallen by more than 70% since the Fukushima reactor accident in 2011. The current price is about $20 per pound, compared to about US$63.50 in March 2011.

The Key Lake mill is the world’s largest, producing 18.7 million lb. of uranium oxide annually. It treats high grade ore from the underground McArthur River mine. The mine operates at only 200 t/d but the grade of 9.6% U3O8 meets the mill’s annual production target.

Cameco is the operator of and 70% owner of the McArthur River mine as well as the operator and 83% owner of the Key Lake mill. Areva Resources Canada owns 30% and 17%, respectively, of the projects.

Learn about Cameco’s other uranium producers in Canada, the United States and Kazakhstan at www.Cameco.com.