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[cdn-nucl-l] Cameco Restarts Rabbit Lake Operation
Posted on the Cameco news list on July 24, 2002 and at:
Cameco Restarts Rabbit Lake Operation
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 24, 2002
Cameco Corporation is pleased to announce the restart of mining at its
Rabbit Lake uranium operation in northern Saskatchewan.
Mine production began this week at the operation's Eagle Point
underground mine and the mill will restart in August. Total production
in 2002 is expected to be about 2.5 million pounds, ramping up to 6
million pounds on an annual basis.
Eagle Point is the latest in a series of ore deposits that have made
Rabbit Lake the longest running uranium operation in Saskatchewan.
Existing reserves at Eagle Point will feed the mill for at least three
years and an exploration drilling program is being conducted to identify
additional reserves. In the latter half of the decade, the Rabbit Lake
mill will be dedicated to process uranium from the Cigar Lake mine.
Cigar Lake could be ready for production in 2005 or 2006, subject to
market conditions and regulatory approvals.
"The restart of Rabbit Lake is important as it provides Cameco with
another production source at a time when the long-term outlook for
uranium prices is favorable," said Bernard Michel, Cameco's chair and
chief executive officer. "The restart also brings employment to about
300 people, at least half from small communities in the north."
Declining uranium prices in the late 1990s compelled Cameco to reduce
costs and production volumes and led to the shutdown of the mine in 1999
and the mill in 2001. The decision allowed Cameco to successfully
weather a severe downturn in uranium prices, marked by a historic low of
about $7 per pound U3O8 in late 2000. Spot market prices for uranium
have recovered about 40% in the past two years to almost $10 (US) per
To ensure the return of its skilled workforce, Cameco implemented a
comprehensive support program for employees impacted by the shutdown.
This included job sharing, transfers to other operations and a
supplemental income program to support those who were laid off. "We are
pleased to report that nearly all of the 120 employees affected by the
shutdown have chosen to return," Michel said. About another 180 people
are being hired by Cameco and its permanent contractors to bring the
operation close to 300 employees.
The Rabbit Lake operation is located approximately 700 kilometers north
of Saskatoon in the Athabasca Basin. It is owned 100% by Cameco.
Cameco, with its head office in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is the world's
largest uranium supplier. 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.
Statements contained in this news release which are not historical facts
are forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and
other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from
those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors
that could cause such differences, without limiting the generality of
the following, include: volatility and sensitivity to market prices for
uranium, electricity in Ontario and gold; the impact of the sales volume
of uranium, conversion services, electricity generated and gold;
competition; the impact of change in foreign currency exchange rates and
interest rates; imprecision in reserve estimates; environmental and
safety risks including increased regulatory burdens; unexpected
geological or hydrological conditions; political risks arising from
operating in certain developing countries; a possible deterioration in
political support for nuclear energy; changes in government regulations
and policies, including trade laws and policies; demand for nuclear
power; replacement of production and failure to obtain necessary permits
and approvals from government authorities; legislative and regulatory
initiatives regarding deregulation, regulation or restructuring of the
electric utility industry in Ontario; Ontario electricity rate
regulations; weather and other natural phenomena; ability to maintain
and further improve positive labour relations; operating performance of
the facilities; success of planned development projects; and other
development and operating risks.
- End -
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