Cameco suspends Cigar Lake production after positive COVID tests
Cameco Corp. says it will temporarily suspend production at its Cigar Lake uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan after six positive COVID-19 tests in recent weeks at northern operations, including three at the mine.
The Saskatoon-based company says the mine will be placed in a “safe state of care and maintenance,” resulting in a significant reduction in personnel and $8 million to $10 million in costs.
It says growing infection rates in the province have created increased uncertainty over access to qualified operational personnel at the mine.
Cameco says it will continue to monitor the pandemic situation in northern Saskatchewan, the impact on communities and availability of employees and contractors to travel to Cigar Lake.
There were about 300 workers on-site at peak production this fall.
The company plans to increase market purchases of uranium to meet its sales commitments but deliveries aren’t expected to be materially impacted this year.
“The safety of our workers, their families and communities is our top priority,” stated Cameco president and CEO Tim Gitzel.
“While the protocols we have put in place have to date allowed us to effectively manage these cases, there are broader risks we don’t control. Therefore, we believe it is prudent to do our part to continue to protect our people and our operations from the increasing threats that are outside our influence.”