TORONTO (Reuters) - Cameco Corp. said on Friday it has found uranium and evidence of other “production-associated” chemicals in the soil below an Ontario uranium hexafluoride conversion plant in which it’s installing new equipment.
The company, the world’s largest uranium producer, said “the chemicals are in a contained area so public health and worker safety are not affected.” It added all regulatory authorities have been notified.
The company has suspended work at the conversion plant in Port Hope, Ontario, and is conducting an investigation to determine the source of the chemicals. It said full production of uranium hexafluoride will likely be suspended for “a minimum” of two months. It said a cost estimate was not immediately available.
The plant, which Cameco says is the only uranium conversion facility in Canada, employs about 420 people. No layoffs are planned and instead Cameco will look for other work for the staff, it said.
“In addition, holes are being drilled around the area and the soil and ground water are being tested to ascertain the area affected,” it said.
Cameco shares fell 43 Canadian cents to C$49.32 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday.