MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Closure of Cameco's Port Hopep lant to be longer than expected

Published by MAC on 2007-09-06

Closure of Cameco's Port Hopep lant to be longer than expected

CBC News

6th September 2007

A Cameco Corp. uranium processing facility that was shut in June after the discovery of ground contamination will remain shut for longer than expected, the company said Thursday.

The firm initially said that its uranium hexafluoride conversion plant at Port Hope, Ont., would be shut for at least two months, but Cameco said there is not enough information to estimate when production will restart.

The company said sufficient data to support an estimate is anticipated by early November.

"While Cameco will make every effort to find alternative assignments for employees affected by the [plant] shutdown, it may not be possible to avoid layoffs for part of the workforce at the Port Hope conversion facility," the company said.

Cameco said it currently has enough uranium hexafluoride on hand to meet demand through the end of the first quarter of 2008.

Elsewhere, at its northern Saskatchewan Cigar Lake mine, which flooded last year, the company said it will take six to 10 more weeks to pour cement and inject grout into the rock fall pile and up to the source of the water.

Cameco said the effectiveness of the plug will not be known until dewatering is underway.

The company also announced plans to buy back up to five per cent of its common shares.

After hitting a 52-week high of $59.90 in June, Cameco's shares started losing ground amid concerns over uranium demand and the fate of Cigar Lake. Amid the August turmoil in stock markets, Cameco shares fell below $40.

The stock has rebounded modestly since then and closed Thursday trading on the TSX at $43.68, up $1.17.

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