* Expects to update costs, production start in Q1 or Q2
* World's richest uranium deposit flooded in 2006
(Adds analyst's comment, details)
By Cameron French
TORONTO, Dec 7 Cameco Corp (CCO.TO) expects to
release updated cost estimates and a production timetable for
its Cigar Lake uranium deposit in northern Saskatchewan early
next year, suggesting repairs to the mine are running
The project, owned 50 percent by Cameco and 37 percent by
France's Areva CEPFi.PA, flooded in 2006 while under
construction and again in 2008, prompting the company to
suspend forecasts for when it might come to production.
Cameco said in October it had sealed the source of the 2008
flood and had resumed draining the mine, which should take six
to 12 months. It said at the time that it would provide further
estimates once the water is removed.
In an email on Monday, Cameco spokesman Lyle Krahn said it
should have those estimates early next year.
"We anticipate completing a Cigar Lake technical report
next year at the end of the first quarter or in the second
quarter," he said.
However, Krahn said the company was still sticking to the
6-12 month timetable for pumping out the mine.
The world's richest unmined uranium deposit, Cigar Lake had
been expected to produce 18 million pounds of uranium a year,
or about 15 percent of global mined supply.
Providing a firm date on the mine's expected production
start would provide some certainty to Cameco's plans to double
uranium output over the next decade, but could also weigh on
uranium prices, which have been helped by the uncertainty over
the mine's future.
"That's something... that could impact the uranium market,"
said Simon Tonkin, an analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners.
Spot uranium prices soared a record high of $136 a pound in
2007 due to supply concerns, but have since come down, and were
at $45.50 on Monday.
Shares of Cameco closed 6 Canadian cents higher at C$32.71
on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday.
(Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway)