Cameco shuts down operations, locks workers out

Cameco shuts down operations, locks workers out

McArthur River uranium mine, the world's largest.

Canadian uranium producer Cameco (TSX:CCO)(NYSE:CCJ) said Wednesday it is halting production at two of its Saskatchewan uranium operations over a labour-management dispute.

The Saskatoon-based miner has initiated a shutdown at the McArthur River uranium mine, the largest in the world, as well as the Key Lake mill, after workers' union said they planned to strike starting Saturday.

Employees at both operations have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2013.

The company and union jointly applied for conciliation under the Canada Labour Code in July.

Cameco said the labour disruption is not expected to affect its 2014 uranium delivery commitments.

There are 535 unionized workers at the two operations.

Uranium prices have recently continued their slide to new record lows. Although there’s no spot price for the metal, UX Consulting’s most recent indicator, published Aug. 25, came to $31 a pound.

For years, Canada was the world’s largest uranium producer, accounting for about 22% of world output, but in 2009, was overtaken by Kazakhstan. Currently the country’s production comes mainly from the McArthur River mine

Image courtesy of Cameco.