Every mining subsector has its unofficial leader. It’s that company — usually with the largest market capitalization — that has arguably the best combination of top mineral deposits, superb operations, savvy management, high-quality workers, technical excellence, welcoming jurisdictions, a stable balance sheet and steady cash flow.
And that is what’s particularly distressing about the revelation in mid-November that uranium’s undisputed leader Cameco is suspending operations in northern Saskatchewan at its world-class McArthur River uranium mine and Key Lake mill that processes McArthur River ore. Key Lake is the world’s largest high-grade uranium mill.
Cameco owns 70% of McArthur River and 83% of Key Lake, and is operator at both, with France’s Areva owning the rest. Together, the operations produced 11.1 million lb. uranium oxide in the first nine months of 2017.
And this won’t be a Sudbury-style forced extended summer vacation for workers: operations will be suspended at the two facilities in January 2018 and stay suspended for at least 10 months.
The workforce at the two operations will drop temporarily by 845 workers (560 employees and 285 contractors) while 210 workers (160 employees and 50 contractors) will maintain the idled facilities at a cost of around $7 million per month. There could be more layoffs in the Saskatoon head office in positions that support the suspended operations.
For the rest of this editorial: http://www.canadianminingjournal.com/news/editorial-cameco-suspends-40-production-face-oversupply/