Cameco suspends Cigar Lake uranium operations to reduce threat of COVID-19 spread – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 25, 2020)

Cameco Corp. has suspended operations at its massive Cigar Lake uranium mine in Saskatchewan to reduce the threat of spreading the novel coronavirus into remote communities in northern parts of the province.

One of the biggest uranium mines in the world, Cigar Lake is located about 650 kilometers north of Saskatoon, and is a fly-in/fly-out operation.

In a statement, Cameco said the decision to idle Cigar Lake for four weeks was motivated by the “restrictions enacted by the federal and provincial governments, the significant degree of concern among leaders in remote isolated communities of northern Saskatchewan, and the increased challenges of maintaining the recommended physical distancing.”

The temporary closing of the mine will affect the vast majority of the 300-person work force, with only 35 remaining on site to operate critical systems.

Saskatoon-based Cameco is one of the world’s biggest uranium producers and Cigar Lake produces about 13 per cent of the global supply of the commodity. There is currently a massive glut in the uranium market. A number of large nuclear power projects were cancelled after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in Japan following a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.

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