Uranium giant Cameco reports second quarter profits are down, but the company remains optimistic about the long-term future and its strategy to capitalize on pent up demand as more countries tap into nuclear power.

The second quarter results show realized net income of $88 million, down 31 per cent from the same period a year ago.  For the first six months of the year, the numbers are even worse with profits down 70 per cent to $79 million.

Share prices were also down by about $0.40 a share.

Company president and CEO Tim Gitzel says the problem is still an oversupply on world markets and slower than expected nuclear reactor start-ups, especially in Japan.

Despite the flat market, Gitzel says there are many positives in the company’s latest financial statement.

“Through all this, the company continues to do well both financially and operationally despite the challenging market we talked about,” he says.  “As you can expect, we are waiting patiently for the industry to recover — but that does not mean we are being complacent.”

Saskatchewan continues to be a bright spot for Cameco.  Production is up at the Key Lake and McArthur River mines, and for the first time, the Cigar Lake mine is producing.

Gitzel expects sales to increase over the next number of years as more and more countries expand their nuclear power capabilities and Japan gets back on line.

“You know if you look at the 64 reactors under construction, and then you add the 25 in Japan that are in the queue waiting for a review and hopefully restart, that is going to be a nice bump for our market,” he says.

Cameco recently signed a multi-year deal to provide India seven million pounds of uranium concentrate.

Gitzel also reflected on the forest fire situation in Saskatchewan.  He says the company suspended shipments of its ore for a short time while roads were closed, but says the fires did not have a major impact on operations.

He extended his appreciation and thanks to company employees who were affected by the fires and volunteered to help defend local communities or worked in evacuation shelters.