Cameco claims strong 2014 performance

09 February 2015

2014 was a year of strong operational performance for Cameco, according to CEO Tim Gitzel, following a fourth quarter which saw Cigar Lake's first packaged uranium concentrate.

Total uranium production from the company's shares of operations in Canada, the USA and Kazakshtan for the year came to 23.3 million pounds U3O8 (8962 tU), very little changed from the 23.6 million pounds (9078 tU) produced in 2013. Annual production from the company's flagship McArthur River operation was 6% down for the year, thanks to the labour disruption that resulted in an unplanned 18-day shutdown during the third quarter.

While the Cigar Lake mine produced its first packaged uranium during the fourth quarter, it is not in commercial operation yet: that point is reached when the mine is able to produce at a consistent or sustainably increasing level. Cameco says it expects Cigar Lake to begin commercial operation during 2015, ramping up towards the planned full production rate of 18 million pounds (6924 tU) by 2018.

Cameco is the majority owner and operator of Cigar Lake, with a 50.025% stake, with Areva Resources Canada Inc, Idemitsu Canada Resources Ltd and Tepco Resources Inc owning 37.1%, 7.875% and 5% respectivley. Ore from Cigar Lake is processed at the McClean Lake mill, which is majority owned and operated by Areva.

However, the fourth quarter also saw Cameco make a C$126 million ($101 million) write-down related to operations at Rabbit Lake, which the company said was due to the deferral of various projects that were related to planned production over the remaining life of the Eagle Point mine.

Cameco president and CEO Tim Gitzel said that uncertainty in the uranium market had persisted for longer than expected, but 2014 had been "another year of strong financial and operational performance" for the company.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News