Cameco Temporarily Suspends UF6 Production in Port Hope

Cameco Temporarily Suspends UF6 Production in Port Hope

November 29, 2008 Filed Under: Uranium Mining  

Cameco Corporation announced it is suspending uranium hexafluoride (UF6) production at the company’s Port Hope plant.

As previously announced, a contract dispute between Cameco and its sole supplier of hydrofluoric acid (HF) has resulted in unreliable and expensive deliveries of this material necessary for the production of UF6. The dispute remains unresolved and Cameco has exhausted the inventory of HF it had purchased on a spot basis.

Cameco is in discussions to broaden its sources of HF while at the same time seeking to resolve the dispute with the current supplier. Given the uncertainty, Cameco has decided to suspend UF6 production until the second half of 2009.

Cameco anticipates meeting UF6 deliveries to customers in the first half of 2009.

Cameco expects the process of suspending UF6 production in a safe manner will take several weeks. During that time, the company will finalize its review of staffing levels and, regrettably, layoffs will result. The exact number and type of positions that will be affected have not been determined, but the company expects the number will be less than 100. Cameco employs approximately 440 people at the conversion facility. The company’s other plant at the conversion facility that produces uranium dioxide (UO2) is not impacted.

Cameco plans to carry out a number of projects at the UF6 plant including refurbishing fluorine cells and doing general work that would establish conditions intended to assure a safe and efficient operation when the plant restarts.

Cameco, with its head office in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is one of the world’s largest uranium producers. The company’s uranium products are used to generate electricity in nuclear energy plants around the world, providing one of the cleanest sources of energy available today. Cameco’s shares trade on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges.

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