- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Uranium miner Cameco Corp. will cut 85 jobs, or one-third of its U.S. workforce, in Wyoming and Nebraska amid persistent low prices for the nuclear fuel.

The layoffs account for a large share of the estimated 300 people employed in uranium mining in Wyoming, the top uranium-mining state. That’s on top of recent job losses in the state’s coal, oil and natural gas industries.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Cameco operates the Smith Ranch-Highland mine near Glenrock and the North Butte mine south of Gillette. All three locations will lose positions, though the breakdown by site remains unknown, company spokesman Ken Vaughn said. “It’s an unfortunate reality of the uranium market right now,” Vaughn said.

The company also operates the Crow Butte mine in Crawford, Nebraska, the Casper Star-Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1qGgE9i).

Meanwhile, production is being suspended at Cameco’s Rabbit Lake operation in northern Saskatchewan, where 500 jobs will be eliminated as part of the company’s cost-cutting.

A wider downturn in the energy market has pushed up Wyoming’s unemployment rate from 3.9 percent in March, 2015, to 5.2 percent last month.

Cameco expects production to fall from 1.4 million pounds last year to 1.1 million pounds this year.

The company uses a technique called in-situ mining in which solutions pumped underground dissolve sandstone containing uranium. Other wells pump the solution and uranium back to the surface.

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Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com


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