Cameco will let go of 550 people at its Key Lake and McArthur River mine sites, in addition to layoffs at its corporate office.
Citing “a weak uranium market,” the company decided not to start up production at the two mine sites for an “indeterminate duration.”
“It was a difficult decision to make, because of the impact it will have on our employees, their families, and other stakeholders,” Cameco CEO and President Tim Gitzel said in a press release. “But we must take this action to ensure the long-term sustainability of the company.”
“We thank our workforce for their hard work and dedication.”
The company had previously announced temporary layoffs in November, when production was first suspended.
Approximately 200 employees will remain at the two sites for maintenance purposes.
Cameco will also be reducing its corporate office staff by 150 people.
“As 2018 unfolds, we will continue to evaluate the market signals,” Gitzel said. “However, we remain resolved in our efforts to maximize cash flow, while maintaining our investment-grade rating so we can self-manage risk and preserve the value of our tier-one assets.”
In a press release, the company announced it’s second quarter results with the layoffs, posting losses of $76 million and adjusted net losses of $28 million.
Saskatchewan’s Minister of Energy and Resources, Bronwyn Eyre, was quick to respond to the far-reaching layoffs.
“Our thoughts are with the employees and families who are affected by this news,” Eyre said in a release of her own. “Saskatchewan’s Rapid Response Team will be reaching out to Cameco to offer and provide assistance to the employees impacted by this decision.”
She highlighted all the work that Cameco has done for Saskatchewan in the past, before noting the challenges the company faces.
“Saskatchewan accounted for 22 per cent of the world’s primary uranium production in 2017,” she said. “This announcement underscores the challenges our natural resource industries continue to face.”
“Now more than ever, all levels of government need to be engaged on this important file to ensure market access for Saskatchewan’s natural resource industries, such as uranium.”