120 Cameco employees to be laid off at McArthur River, Key Lake, Cigar Lake

Layoffs at three Cameco locations are part of plan to reduce costs amid losses in 2016.

Layoffs to be completed May 2017

Approximately 120 jobs will be lost across three Cameco mines in northern Saskatchewan, the company announced on Tuesday.

Cameco is cutting approximately 120 jobs at its McArthur River, Key Lake and Cigar Lake locations following losses in 2016. 

The layoffs will be made in multiple phases and are expected to be complete by May 2017. The affected employees will be offered compensation and transition assistance, Cameco said in a press release. 

The staff reductions come nearly nine months after Cameco cut another 500 jobs at its Rabbit Lake location, closing the site. 

The 120 jobs account for approximately 10 per cent of the jobs between the three sites, which employ 1250 workers.

In addition to the cuts, the service for flying employees into the mines will also be changed, along with scheduling. An internal memo sent to Cameco employees said air pick-up points in Île-a-la-Crosse, La Loche and Beauval will stop in April. Employees who previously used those locations will have to travel to La Ronge or Buffalo Narrows, the memo said.

Pick-up points in Pinehouse and Patuanak will continue as scheduled. 

A 10 per cent site allowance for the company's northernmost operations — in effect since 2008 — is currently under review to determine if it is "still appropriate in the current labour market", according to the memo.

The Fukishima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011 — and the subsequent slower-than-expected pace of reactor re-starts in that country — are pointed to in the memo as culprits for weak uranium prices in a market with excess supply.

The company released the information due to its participating in investor conferences and the "significant discrepancy" between analyst estimates of earnings and their own. The company also expects to announce a profit loss for 2016 "due in part to asset impairments resulting from fair market value."

Cameco said it expects to report a loss in 2016 after completion of financial reports for the quarter and year. Adjustments to net earnings are expected to be between $180 million and $220 million after tax.