Cameco’s Cigar Lake operation is being temporarily suspended citing increased risk of COVID-19 in Northern Saskatchewan.

“We have had six positive tests at our northern operations in recent weeks, including three at Cigar Lake,” said President and CEO Tim Gizel. “One of the most challenging trends we’ve had to navigate is the shrinking availability of workers in critical roles at Cigar Lake due to self-isolations, absenteeism and communities being on temporary pause for transporting workers due to the pandemic.”

When Cigar Lake is in full production approximately 300 workers are on-site. The mine will be placed into care and maintenance, which is expected to see a significant reduction in staff.

“The timing of the restart and the production rate will depend on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the availability of the required workforce at Cigar Lake, how cases are trending in Saskatchewan, in particular in northern communities, and the views of public health authorities,” explained Gitzel.

To offset the loss of uranium production, Cameco will look to purchase from the market to fill the void. Cameco said it will not meet is 2020 production target of 5.3 million pounds at Cigar Lake.

The temporary shutdown is expected to cost approximately eight-to-ten million dollar per month.