Cameco suspends Rabbit Lake operations

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Wall says if there is one positive, Cameco decided not to permanently shut down the mine meaning there is an avenue for the facility to start operations again if the price of uranium rebounds.

“It’s going to add to the unemployment numbers in northern Saskatchewan …”

CCJ is ramping up production at its low-priced Cigar Lake mine, which means it can meet customer needs without the higher-cost output from Rabbit Lake.

The layoffs are a part of larger cost-cutting measures undertaken by Cameco.

Cameco said it will offer employees exit packages and will consider relocating workers to other Cameco facilities. “It’s an unfortunate reality of the uranium market right now”, Vaughn said.

“To identify perhaps other job opportunities that might exist that fit their skills, to identify maybe retraining opportunities for those that want to pursue a different career”, Wall explained. Those employees being let go will know by the end of May.

Cameco Resources, owner of the Crow Butte uranium mine near Crawford, is reducing production at its U-S operations and suspending production at its Rabbit Lake operation in northern Saskatchewan, citing the continued depressed world uranium market. However, earlier this year Cameco wrote down CAD210 million in relation to Rabbit Lake operations, due to increased uncertainty over future production sources for the Rabbit Lake mill.

Final 2016 production at Rabbit Lake is now expected to be 1.0 million pounds U3O8 (385 tU), down from the 3.6 million pounds (1385 tU) expected previously, while USA production is expected to be 1.1 million pounds U3O8 (423 tU), down from 1.4 million pounds (539 tU).

“When Cameco makes such a bold move to say that it can’t sustain multiple operations in this current price environment, that will catch the industry’s attention”, Talbot said in the email.

Uranium production began at Rabbit Lake in 1975, making it the longest-producing uranium mine in North America.

“We’re seeing across all the sectors that the market conditions just aren’t supporting production levels”, Schwann said in an interview Friday.

Kim Earnest

The author Kim Earnest

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