the grievances expressed by representatives of local populations in the mining zones and pastoral peoples as well as government representatives. Concerns relate to radioactive pollution, water resource depletion, work-related diseases for mine workers, and the appropriation of land and water resources, including legally enshrined common property regimes and pastoral territories, without required compensation.
It is widely acknowledged among government staff that the Nigerien government is not able to properly implement its environmental legislation and monitor the uranium mining industry.
Niger: Development Cooperation Must Support the Environmental Governance of Uranium Mining THE ISN BLOG, Rasmus K Larsen 2 May 2013 Niger’s new development strategy, the Economic and Social Development Plan, is also intended to guide international development cooperation. Environmental governance of uranium mining, the country’s by far largest single economic activity, appears hitherto to have constituted a ‘blind spot’ for environmentally oriented development cooperation. It is now time to remove the blinkers and include support to strengthen environmental governance of the mining sector in new programmes to assist Niger in meeting its development challenges
Niger is well known in international media as one of the world’s poorest countries, struggling with chronic structural hunger and malnutrition. UNDP ranks Niger 186 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index, and in 2011, five million people (33% of Niger’s population) were at ‘high risk’ to food insecurity.
What is less well known is that Niger also hosts the fourth largest uranium production in the world. Export values totalled over EUR 348 million in 2010, representing more than twice the total development assistance finance received during the same year. However, the state retains less than one fifth of the value of the uranium ore that is exported. The exploitation of the mineral wealth by international investors is expanding, with granted and requested mining concessions comprising close to 10% of the national territory…….
Attention to environmental impacts or risks associated with the mining sector goes seemingly without mention in the guiding documents of the principal development partners, including the EU, the World Bank, the UNDP, and the African Development Bank.
Severe environmental governance issues
This is in stark contrast to the grievances expressed by representatives of local populations in the mining zones and pastoral peoples as well as government representatives. Concerns relate to radioactive pollution, water resource depletion, work-related diseases for mine workers, and the appropriation of land and water resources, including legally enshrined common property regimes and pastoral territories, without required compensation.
It is widely acknowledged among government staff that the Nigerien government is not able to properly implement its environmental legislation and monitor the uranium mining industry. The Environmental Impact Assessment Bureau has only one person in place to verify all mining project applications in the country and, although legally required, not all verification missions are undertaken. The same applies to the National Centre for Radioprotection, which lacks the necessary capacity e.g. to undertake surprise inspections. The impacts and risks highlighted by civil society must be taken seriously. Due to deficiencies in the public administration, there are considerable constraints in enforcing and implementing the legislative and administrative framework – the very same framework, which development cooperation has helped to put in place……
Any mining activity will carry with it an environmental toll. The decision to sacrifice natural resources and human health, and ultimately lives of citizens, for economic gain will be the executive decision of the mandated political authority – in this case the Nigerien government……..
The Nigerien uranium mining sector is also intricately linked to the geopolitical energy security interests of some donor countries. The mines are operated by foreign companies (the French AREVA Group and Chinese investors). EU countries such as France, which has been involved in uranium mining since Niger gained independence, remain some of the largest buyers of the uranium ore – thus directly stimulating the mining activities and their detrimental impacts. This raises the question how donor countries could better supervise the behaviour of corporations incorporated within their own territories, thus implementing the recent UN guidelines for the supervision of multinational corporations (in “Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and Human Rights”). Indeed, when transparent and comprehensive problem identification is missing as the basis for donor support, then it opens for speculation that the ignorance of mining-related environmental issues and the crisis discourse on desertification and food insecurity are mobilized as instruments to divert attention from geopolitical interests in the country’s mineral wealth.
With its new development strategy, the Nigerien government emphasises the urgency of increasing mining fees and extraction tariffs to raise the state revenue and strengthen oversight with mining corporations. Importantly, specific attention is also directed at the need to improve the coordination between the mining and environmental sectors and their limited human and institutional capacities. This should be interpreted as an invitation from the Nigerien government to its development partners to proactively support enforcement of the existing environmental regulations of the mining sector……
Hopefully, the concerns expressed by people experiencing the impacts of the uranium mining industry first hand will be included in the list of priorities for the on-going negotiation between the Nigerien government and its development partners, among them the European Commission and Danida, on how to spend the EUR 3.7 billions. http://isnblog.ethz.ch/isn-security-watch/niger-development-cooperation-must-support-the-environmental-governance-of-uranium-mining
Solar Power Helps In The Battle Against Malaria http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3711 29 April 13, The Netherland’s Wageningen University is leading a project to install 4,000 solar powered mosquito traps on the Kenyan island of Rusinga. Read more »
Energy: Nuclear warning sparks meltdown, Mail and Guardian (Africa) 26 APR 2013 00:00 – LIONEL FAULL A major policy clash over the biggest spending plan in SA’s history has erupted between the national planning commission and the energy department. The trillion-rand plan to build a fleet of new nuclear power stations is not only costlier than expected, but may be entirely unnecessary, according to the research initiated by the commission.
It also warned that the department’s commitment to a massive nuclear push could ratchet electricity prices up by as much as 12% compared with alternative scenarios Read more »
Of the profits made, Paladin, for instance rakes in about 80% and has a paltry 1.5% for the Malawi nation
Paladin says in one breath it paid over U$5.6 million in taxes to the Malawi government, and in its other breath through its published annual report, indicates it paid about U$9.3 million in taxes.
the British silently stole our uranium and left when their projections did not add up to their whims, and now we have the Aussies who are refusing to deal fairly.
Killing Malawians through the rotten extractives deals: The case of Paladin’s uranium mining http://www.nyasatimes.com/2013/04/24/killing-malawians-through-the-rotten-extractives-deals-the-case-of-paladins-uranium-mining/ Patricia Masinga, April 24, 2013 Malawi has in the few weeks been engaged by a plethora of stakeholders discussing strategies to revive, or more on the ground, reclaim the benefits that Malawians are been milked of by the so-called extractive industry multi-national corporations.
They call themselves investors, and government believes that the Malawi Development Goals (MDGs – who cares if it’s the second phase) will be boosted, particularly that mining alone through Kayerekera of Paladin Energy Limited group of companies (trading as Paladin (Africa) Ltd in Malawi?) could provide a large economic base.
But that is all a fat lie. Paladin and many other foreign multinational mining countries are least interested to contributing to the Malawi economic growth. They are here to milk the country – exploiting all that it has rich in minerals and dump us when the time is right even poorer.
Imagine, to screw Malawians of their rightful economic gains, the company, incorporated in Australia first listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) on March 29, 1994 under code ‘PDN’, and quickly changed its name from Paladin Resources NL to Paladin Resources Ltd in 2000 and listed under the Toronto Stock Exchnage (TSX) in Canada April 29, 2005, and again changed its name to Paladin Energy Ltd in November 2007 and listed on the Namibian Stock Exchnage on February 2008.
By such trends, one is compeled to question the motive, Read more »
Study pours cold water on South Africa’s nuclear build plan BUSNESS DAY LIVE, BY CAROL PATON, 19 APRIL 2013, NEW National Planning Commission (NPC) modelling of South Africa’s energy demands says nuclear power should be delayed by years, and an immediate commissioning of new gas-generation capacity should take place to avoid rolling blackouts in the near future.
The remodelling commissioned by the NPC signals the start in earnest of what will be a highly contested policy debate: whether South Africa needs and can afford nuclear power or not, and by when.
The implication of the modelling is that no new nuclear power would be required before at least 2029, but more likely as far away as 2040 if demand grows as expected. Read more »
Malawi to renogotiate with Paladin on the Kayerekera uranium deal http://www.malawitoday.com/news/128733-malawi-renogotiate-paladin-kayerekera-uranium-deal 14 April 2013 ZODIAK RADIO Malawi has finally succumbed to pressure from activists to start re-negotiating with Paladin Africa Limited on the Kayerekera Uranium deal in a last ditch attempt to create a win-win situation.
First on the proposal is to remove the confidentiality clause on the agreement such that it be made public before rectifying other strings within the deal.
Minister of Mines Mr John Bande confirmed that discussions are underway with Paladin Africa Limited on the matter.
“We are working out on modalities to discuss in public the agreement between Kayerekera and the Malawi Government,” said Bande.
Bande blamed the previous regime for putting a confidentiality clause on the license. “Now government is working to remove that clause so that the deal can be discussed in public,” said Bande.
Critics have continuously called on government to re-negotiate the license, saying Malawi is getting a raw deal from it.
Issued in 2009 the Kayerekera uranium mine license is for a period of 15 years and is subject to renewal.
The license among others also allowed the miner to open an off-shore account.
According to the deal, Malawi was meant to be collecting a meager US$ 100 million in taxes annually from the deal.
Obama’s Military Presence in Niger: US Control over Uranium under the Disguise of Counter-terrorism Global Research, By Wayne Madsen, 3 Mar 13, President Obama’s military incursion into Niger, ostensibly to establish a drone base to counter «Al Qaeda» and other Islamist guerrilla activity in neighboring Mali, has little to do with counter-insurgency and everything to do with establishing U.S. control over Niger’s uranium and other natural resources output and suppressing its native Tuareg population from seeking autonomy with their kin in northern Mali and Algeria. Read more »
Namibia’s Roessing uranium mine to slash jobs Global Post, 1 Mar 13, The Roessing uranium mine in Namibia, a unit of British mining giant Rio Tinto, said Friday it plans to cut 17 percent of its workforce due to slowing demand for nuclear fuel…. As with many other uranium producers, Roessing is buckling under low metal prices and reduced demand, the company’s managing director Chris Salisbury told reporters.
“Since the Japanese tsunami in 2011, uranium demand has remained depressed and the uranium price has fallen by more than 36 percent,” he said.
Japan shut down its nuclear power plants after the tsunami destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant, and a number of other countries including Germany have also signalled they plan to reduce or phase out their facilities.
“With the utility sector in Japan essentially shutdown, there is little prospect of a turnaround in the near term,” he added.
At the same time electricity and water costs have gone up…. Roessing Uranium Limited is owned 68.6 percent by British mining giant Rio Tinto and is one of two operating uranium mines in Namibia. .http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130301/namibia-s-roessing-uranium-mine-slash-jobs
No clear path to ambitious nuclear goal. Mail & Guardian, Africa 01 MAR 2013 LYNLEY DONNELLY,,,,,,,Eskom, which the state named as owner and operator for the proposed nuclear programme, is being hampered by labour strife at the construction site of the new Medupi coal-fired power station. Strikes are threatening the delivery time of Medupi, which was expected to bring its first unit online later this year.
Guenon also expressed misgivings about the government’s ambitious localisation plans for the nuclear programme. It would be very difficult to meet high localisation levels, if government opted to build one nuclear plant given the stringent certification and regulatory requirements vendors, suppliers and other companies involved in the nuclear industry were required to meet; as well as the need for qualified labour, particularly technicians and artisans……
It is estimated that the procurement and construction of the six new power stations envisaged will cost between R400-billion and R1-trillion. …..
the very high capital costs of nuclear procurement is a concern for policymakers. The national planning commission has called for the nuclear programme to be reviewed to ensure its financial feasibility……
key to the success of a nuclear programme, particularly one that ensured successful localisation, was the issue of affordability. The minister of finance would not sign off on something that the country’s balance sheet could not sustain,..http://mg.co.za/article/2013-03-01-00-no-clear-path-to-ambitious-nuclear-goal
US general urges Pentagon to boost its African spying missions by 15-fold, Press Tv, 15 Feb 13, A US general nominated to lead American military’s Africa Command has called for a 15-fold surge in US spying missions in Africa amid reports of Pentagon’s plans to further expand its growing military presence in the continent.Army General David Rodriguez estimated in a written statement submitted to the US Senate Arms Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Thursday that the American military needs to boost its “intelligence-gathering and spying missions in Africa by nearly 15-fold,” The Washington Post reports Friday. ….”necessary to protect American interests and assist our close allies and partners,” said the four-star general ..
… Rodrigues further emphasized during the hearing that Africa Command requires additional drones, other spying aircraft and more satellite imagery…. The development comes as the American military has intervened over the past two years in internal conflicts in African nations of Somalia, Libya and Mali, as well as central Africa.
This is while the US Air Force is building its fourth assassination and spying drone base in the poor African state of Niger as American Navy warships are expanding their missions along the coastlines of East and West Africa, according to the report….. there is a growing pressure to add even more bases in North and West Africa as the US military is set to build an assassination drone base in the West African country of Niger, which borders Mali, Libya and Nigeria,
South Africa’s new nuclear challenges, Mail and Guardian Africa 15 FEB 2013 LYNLEY DONNELLY South African authorities will have to address two critical issues as the country faces signing for its new nuclear procurement megaplan. Funding and human resources capacity are two of the biggest challenges confronting any country embarking on a nuclear energy programme, according to Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
These are two critical issues that South African authorities will have to address as the country faces signing on the dotted line for its new nuclear procurement megaplan for six nuclear power stations by 2030. Funding was a “difficult issue” for the nuclear industry everywhere, said Amano, who was on a brief tour of South Africa last week…… Read more »
it’s not acceptable” that Niger’s most
valuable export only contributes about 5 percent to the nation’s
Increased revenue for Niger may come in the form of more mining
taxes, royalties or even a stake in AREVA; any of those options would
lower returns for investors and discourage future investment
Investment analysts are advising those with resource investments in
Mali to get out while they can
Mali, Niger Unrest Highlights Need for Uranium Asset Diversification
February 14, 2013, By Melissa Pistilli Uranium Investing News
France’s military intervention in Mali, its former West African
colony, highlights industrialized nations’ supreme need to secure
access to economically strategic assets — in France’s case, uranium.
That theme will increasingly be seen playing out on the world stage
over the coming years. Read more »
Video: Microsoft Providing Low-Cost, Solar-Powered Broadband Access In Africa http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3595 15 Feb 13, Early this month, Microsoft Corp announced the launch of a pilot project delivering low-cost wireless broadband access in parts of Kenya via solar-powered base stations.
A project carried out in collaboration with the government of Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communications and Indigo Telecom Ltd., the network utilizes TV white spaces to carry broadband signals to previously unserved locations near Nanyuki and Kalema. The project is the first deployment of TV white space technology in Africa.
TV white spaces are well-suited for delivering low-cost broadband access as radio signals in the TV bands can be transmitted over longer distances and penetrate more obstacles than other types of radio signals. As a result, fewer base stations are required.
Microsoft says that as television has begun to switch from analog to digital around the world, even more of this spectrum can be used to relay broadband.
More than 6,000 people will benefit from the project; which is part of theMicrosoft 4Afrika Initiative. In addition, solar power systems with deep cycle battery energy storage will be installed at local schools to supply electricity to their Information & Communication Technology (ICT) labs. Each system will generate 4.5 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy per day, which should provide a small surplus of power above what is required for each lab.
While 4.5 kilowatt hours doesn’t sound like a great deal, it will be sufficient for students to use tablets and eReaders in the labs.
“Solar power addresses the issue of reliability in developing economies and carries low operating costs since panels last a long time and batteries can function for up to three years,” says a statement from Microsoft.
“That makes solar an increasingly affordable way to deliver power, especially in areas that lack infrastructure for both electricity transmission and broadband access.”
Solar energy to power rural electricity launched, Ghana Business News, February 10, 2013 A new life changing solar energy system aimed at augmenting rural electricity power generation using the sun’s direct energy has been launched in Accra.
Dubbed Solar2Africa400, the system consists of a portable folding solar panel, a cable, a connector and a 400-watt power inverter.
It is aimed at responding to the growing demand for off-grid electrification solutions and support government’s efforts at cutting down the cost of extending the national grid to island and lakeside communities.
The innovation was born out of collaboration between Power for Africa, a United Kingdom based company, which designed the system for developing countries such as Ghana and Gem Technologies, a Ghanaian company. Read more »
In Niger, New Disputes Over French Uranium Extraction International Business Times, 6 Feb 13, “....no wonder Paris sent its own special security forces to Niger this week to protect a French-operated uranium mine there.
But mineral resources have long been a touchy subject in Niger, and the extra security has generated some controversy as to whether foreign investors have dealt a fair hand to the country’s 16 million people.
“Uranium is really a crucial point of contention,” said Leonardo A. Villalón, an associate professor at the University of Florida and expert on the Sahel, the band of semi-arid land just south of the Sahara Desert. “The notion of exactly who benefits from the resource is the central question of political economy in Niger.”….. President Mahamadou Issoufou suggested on Sunday that Nigeriens are getting the short end of the stick…..
The exact details regarding Areva’s current dealings with Niger are murky. …. Areva did not respond to requests for comment regarding its current agreement with the Nigerien administration….. http://www.ibtimes.com/niger-new-disputes-over-french-uranium-extraction-1064546
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