Cameco continues to suffer losses, is cautiously optimistic about future

Uranium miner Cameco 'cautiously optimistic' about future as losses continue to mount

While its financial numbers are daunting, uranium mining company Cameco says it's remaining confident about the future.

In its first quarter results, Cameco said its net loss attributable to equity holders was $18 million. At the same time last year, the company had made $78 million.

"As we expected, our first quarter sales were light, resulting in the usual seasonality of our cash flow," wrote CEO Tim Gitzel in a news release.

"However, our strategic focus on costs and efficiency is beginning to pay off, with administration and production costs coming down significantly compared to last year."

Cameco has struggled over the past year. In 2016, the company reported a loss of $62 million after revenue dropped by $323 million.

Last year, Uranium spot prices hit a 12-year low, caused by oversupply after Japan shut its power reactors down following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

In January, Japanese power company TEPCO issued a notice it was canceling a contract with the company worth $1.3 billion through 2028. Cameco said it planned to fight the matter in court. 

Gitzel is confident that prices will improve this year.

"With Japan continuing down its path to restarting reactors, and with construction of new nuclear plants fuelling increasing future uranium requirements, we believe our focus on value and on our tier-one assets will allow us to maintain our competitive position, and thrive in a rising market," he said.

This spring, 120 Cameco employees were expected to be laid off at its operations in McArthur River, Key Lake and Cigar Lake. The layoffs were expected to be completed by May.