The Cameco mine at McArthur River. Photo courtesy

Cameco is confirming that the McArthur River operation in northern Saskatchewan will be shutdown for four weeks during the summer.

An official with the uranium company says they are asking employees at the mine to schedule some of their vacation time during the shutdown to act as a cost saving method for the uranium giant.

The shutdown is believed to be in either July or August.

“That’s when most people prefer to take their holidays; when their kids are out of school and the weather is good,” says Gord Struthers, a Cameco spokesperson. “It won’t have any affect on the planned production at the operation, it’s just a better way of manning the schedule at the operation.”

The global uranium market has fallen over the past few years. Uranium that was selling for $70 a pound five years ago is now selling for around $20 a pound. In April Cameco shutdown its Rabbit Lake uranium mine and suspended its U.S. Operations.

“We are looking to reduce cost across our operations to deal with an extended period of weakness in prices in our products,” says Struthers. “We are looking for ways to reduce our costs and minimize the impacts on people, so this was a good opportunity to do that.”

Struthers says similar shutdowns are expected in Key Lake and Cigar Lake as well.

At least one McArthur mine worker who received the notice of the summer shutdown earlier this week says he had to rejig his vacation bookings, but aside from that it doesn’t make an impact.

Summer shutdowns are common in the potash mining industry in Saskatchewan, but this is the first time in McArthur for Cameco.