Cameco uranium mine stops production after union rejects offer

Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:24pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

Aug 29 (Reuters) - Canadian miner Cameco Corp suspended production at the world's largest uranium mine after the union representing more than 500 workers refused to take the company's offer to workers for a vote, Cameco said on Friday.

The company said in a statement it made its "final offer" to the union on Thursday and asked that workers vote on it. The union's bargaining committee rejected the offer and declined to put it to a vote among members, Cameco said.

The company began flying workers at the remote McArthur River, Saskatchewan, mine to their home communities on Friday evening. No further talks with United Steelworkers union Local 8914 are scheduled, said Cameco spokesman Gord Struthers.

Union representative Mike Pulak did not respond to requests for comment.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Cameco said on Wednesday that, barring a last-minute labor settlement with 535 unionized workers, it would close the mine and Key Lake mill and lock out workers at 12:01 a.m. Central time (0501 GMT) on Saturday.

The move was in response to United Steelworkers issuing a strike notice for the same time.

The shutdown will reduce some of the world's excess uranium supply but likely crimp earnings at Cameco, which analysts said may have to find other supplies at a higher cost.

The spot uranium price climbed to $33 per pound on Thursday, according to Ux Consulting, its highest level in four months.   Continued...