The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Uranium industry in Niger from AREVA to Chinese companies

the Chinese-operated uranium mine is one of the most opaque business endeavours in Niger
“The nuclear industry itself really works as an oligopoly,” says Yi-Chong Xu, an expert in China’s nuclear policy at Australia’s Griffith University. “In every segment, it’s controlled by only 3 or 4 companies.”
Communities close to uranium sites in northern Niger generally haven’t derived a substantial or obvious advantage from them.
“There isn’t any benefit for the population who lives here,” “They’re just afraid of the contamination.”
uranium-oreOne uranium mine in Niger says a lot about China’s huge nuclear-power ambitions, Business Insider, 25 Oct 15,  ARMIN ROSEN “………the ambitions of the nuclear powers in Niger are still playing out today as Niger’s remote and inhospitable northern desert environment contains the world’s fifth-largest recoverable uranium reserves, some 7% of the global total.

The ore must be extracted and then milled into yellowcake in distant pockets of the Saharan wastes, where it’s then sent on a multi-day truck convoy to the port of Cotonou, in Benin, some 1,900 kilometers (1,180 miles) away………Those mines are operated by Areva, a nuclear-energy-services company that is 70% owned by France, the colonial power that ruled Niger between the 1890s and 1960…….
plans to begin large-scale mining at Imouraren are now on hold because of the worldwide plunge in uranium prices that followed the Fukushima incident and the resulting shutdown of Japan’s 43 commercial nuclear reactors…….

A fourth mine, in a place called Azelik, near the mostly ethnic Tuareg city of In’gall, is currently much smaller than the other three sites.

Like Imouraren, it’s currently shuttered as a partial result of the uranium price dip. But because of its ownership and a checkered recent history, it’s an instructive guide to the future of Niger’s uranium and the global nuclear energy industry at large.

Niger’s Azelik uranium mine, owned and operated by Chinese companies, is at the geographic and economic fringes of a continent-wide wave of Chinese investment, goods, and people. Continue reading

October 26, 2015 Posted by | Niger, opposition to nuclear, politics, social effects, Uranium | Leave a comment

Europe targets Niger – for its uranium


“……….According to Wikipedia, Niger has been a uranium exporter since the 1960s and has had substantial export earnings and rapid economic growth during the 1960s and 1970s. The persistent uranium price slump brought lower revenues for Niger’s uranium sector, although it still provides 72% of national export proceeds.

When the uranium-led boom ended in the early 1980s the economy stagnated, and new investment since then has been limited. Niger’s two uranium mines – SOMAIR’s open pit mine and COMINAK’s underground mine – are owned by a French-led consortium and operated by French company Areva.

As of 2007, many licences have been sold to other companies from countries such as India, China, Canada and Australia in order to exploit new deposits. In 2013, the government of Niger sought to increase its uranium revenue by subjecting the two mining companies to a 2006 Mining Law.

The government argued that the application of the new law will balance an otherwise unfavourable partnership between the government and Areva. The company resisted the application of the new law that it feared would jeopardize the financial health of the companies, citing declining market uranium prices and unfavourable market conditions.

In 2014, following nearly a year long negotiation with the government of Niger, Areva agreed to the application of 2006 Mining Law of Niger, which would increase the government’s uranium revenues from 5 to 12 percent. [IDN-InDepthNews – 27 September 2015]…….

September 30, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, Niger, politics international | Leave a comment

A plea for support for anti uranium protesters arrested in Niger

Dear South African Fellows of the SALT
text-Please-NotePlease note that it was agreed by common consent this year
that the campaign to end uranium mining in Niger with regard
would be a primary focus of the African Uranium Alliance,
founded in Tanzania in 2010.
Now our comrades in Niger have been arrested for their dissent
and need our active support in South Africa, through BRICS,
through the Department of International Relations and through
the African Union, not to mention  Amnesty International and the
United Nations.
Remember how much we were supported in our struggles against
Apartheid by foreign governments, by overseas donors, and by
ordinary citizens of the global Anti-Apartheid Movement.
Now let us return the favour by standing by our leaders in Niger.
Contact your local press, your radio stations, and television stations.
Write to your local Member of Parliament, your leaders in Faith and
your union leaders. Raise the matter on Facebook, Twitter and by way
of public speaking.
The citizens of Niger cannot be held accountable for resistance to the
unjust and unacceptable system of uranium exploitation. Rather should
they be listened to with respect and their basic human rights to free speech
and free association afforded by the State of Niger and its allies in France.
The French Government would never be allowed to get away with
such a breach of human rights in their own country. They should not be
given any right to do so in their former colonies abroad.
After all, they are the architects of the slogan, “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite”.
Let them practise today what their ancestors did before them.
Let the NIGER TEN go free.

July 23, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, Niger, opposition to nuclear, Uranium | Leave a comment

USA and France co-operating on the militarisation of Africa: Niger uranium

Uranium games in Niger and the US-Franco competition Andrew Korybko for RT  June 11, 2014 The West has actively been making multidimensional inroads into Africa over the past decade, largely of a malignant nature. The US and its NATO allies are interested in market potential, energy prospects, and military engagement…….

France has been de-facto appointed as the US’ “lead from behind partner” in this region, but the relationship between the two NATO allies is not as secure as it initially seems. Through the overlap of security responsibilities in uranium-rich Niger, the US is positioning itself for long-term control of the uranium mines that help drive France’s economy…….
 uranium significance cue in American military involvement in Niger. Last year the US sent 100 troops there to build and operate a drone base for use against the militants traversing the country and staged nearby. Just last month, the US announced that it will also be training so-called elite counterterrorism units in Libya, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. While the US is delegating a large share of military responsibility to France in the region, it is still directly involving itself in specific matters that it deems of critical importance. Niger is arguably a tinderbox of terror, but it is also exceptionally important for France’s strategic energy needs. Hegemonic influence over Niger would indirectly lead to substantial control over France’s uranium dependency, thereby allowing Washington to leverage influence over Paris……….

Altogether, the US and France are closely cooperating in the NATO militarization of Africa during the “Second Scramble”. Despite being somewhat different in their approaches, they represent “two hands from the same magician” working behind the scenes to advance the Western interest there. Concurrently, as can be seen by the NSA spying directed against European “allies”, Washington does not place full trust in those that it cooperates with. Therefore, it is fully in line with America’s established track record of deceit to hedge itself towards a position of guiding influence over its partners, specifically France. In the event that Paris’ ambitions for power get the best of it and it once more “goes rogue” from Atlantic command, the US will play the Nigerien uranium card to enact maximum pressure on the country and force it back into the unipolar fold.

June 13, 2014 Posted by | Niger, Uranium, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Niger still short-changed in new uranium deal with AREVA

areva-medusa1Niger, Areva in hard-won uranium deal, Yahoo 7 Finance, 26 May 14The government of Niger and French nuclear energy group Areva announced on Monday that they had signed a deal to renew a decades-old agreement for the operation of two uranium mines.

Under the deal, negotiated for 18 months, Areva agreed that a 2006 mining law sharply increasing taxes on mineral extracted would apply to the Somair and Cominak operations in the north of the country which it partially controls.

“We have heard the government’s legitimate call for higher receipts coming from uranium,” said Luc Oursel, Areva CEO, on a visit to Niamey to sign the deal.

However, a joint statement said that the operations would be exempt from sales tax over the course of the five-year deal.

The revenue issue had been the main sticking point in the talks since the government considered that the previous contracts, which expired at the end of last year, were unfavourable to the country, the fourth-biggest producer of uranium in the world.

The French arm of charity Oxfam, which has been a sharp critic of state-controlled Areva’s uranium dealings with Niger, said the new deal continued to shortchange Nigeriens, who stood to lose “10 to 15 million euros a year.” ($13.6 to $20.5 million)…….

May 27, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Niger, politics international | Leave a comment

AREVA’ s giant new Imouraren uranium mine stalled due to poor market

graph-down-uraniumAreva signs uranium deal with Niger, delays new mine May 27, 2014 By Abdoulaye Massalaki NIAMEY (Reuters) – French nuclear group Areva agreed to a reduction in tax breaks and a rise in royalty rates at its uranium mines in Niger on Monday but said the start of production at its giant new Imouraren mine would be delayed until prices improve……

May 27, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Niger | Leave a comment

AREVA now finding it harder to rip off Niger in uranium projects

areva-medusa1Niger fails to reach uranium mining deal with French nuclear firm Areva Deadlock over royalties as Oxfam points out Areva’s global turnover is more than four times Niger’s entire annual budget Guardian   in Niamey, 28 Feb 14,  Another deadline has passed without agreement in Niger in the government’s ongoing negotiations with the French nuclear company Areva on the renewal of the company’s license to operate in the country.

After months of discussions, the mining minister, Omar Tchiana, said last week that Friday would be the final deadline for the two sides to strike a deal. Now it has been agreed that talks will continue without a fixed deadline.

The negotiations are deadlocked on the issue of the royalties Areva pays Niger for the rights to two large uranium mines, Somair and Cominak in the arid north of the country. The terms of the original deal struck in the early 1970s have never been made public, but government sources say the company pays about 5.5% of its revenues in royalties. Niger wants the terms of a new mining code passed in 2006 to be implemented, which would force Areva to pay between 12% and 15% in royalties, and end a number of tax breaks on materials and equipment.

“Niger has not benefited at all from uranium production for 40 years. These contracts need to be win-win for Niger and not just for the benefit of France and Areva” said Ali Idrissa, the executive co-ordinator of the civil society group Rotab.  The issue is of huge significance to the country, which ranks bottom of the UN’s human development index.  According to Oxfam, Areva’s annual turnover of €9bn ($12.4bn) is more than four times Niger’s entire annual budget of €2bn…….

the current negotiations between Areva and the government are still less than transparent, and steps towards establishing a FGF and prioritising its spending have not been implemented…….

It is likely that Niger will be able to leverage a better deal from Areva, despite the company’s claims that a higher royalty rate could make the operation prohibitively unprofitable……

March 1, 2014 Posted by | Niger, Uranium | Leave a comment

THe Nuclear Medusa AREVA and its uranium mining harm to Niger

uranium-oreNo matter where Uranium is mined on this planet the story is the same. The marketeers operate without conscience. Uranium should not be a marketable commodity.
Once fissioned the nuclear waste produced acts to decreate all of creation.  It is lethal to all living things. It cannot be buried and forgotten because 90% of the biomass on this planet exists below ground. Therefore nuclear waste must be perpetually managed and contained above ground forever as it lasts forever. These are the reasons why I continue to call for the ABOLITION OF ALL NUCLEAR FISSIONING APPLICATIONS ASAP!
Uranium should be left in the ground.
Lets commit to make 2014 a better year.

areva-medusa1World’s Poorest Suffer From Radioactive Sickness as Areva Mines for Uranium | January 24, 2014 More than 60 percent of Niger’s population lives on less than $1 per day, and even more have no electricity.

Still, French company Areva keeps contaminating those residents and their environment while mining away for uranium—one of the few resources the world’s poorest country still has. Continue reading

January 27, 2014 Posted by | Niger, politics international, Uranium | 1 Comment

Wide implications for uranium industry of test case in Niger

Niger uranium mining dispute a test case for use of African natural resources  by  Friday 10 January 2014 The wrangle between Niger and a state-owned French firm over payments for uranium extraction has wider ramifications

areva-medusa1The protracted negotiations on uranium mining between Niger andAreva, the French energy multinational, are not just a trial of strength between an African government and a big company. The face-off will also test whether there is more than just pious sentiment to the notion that African countries should derive greater benefit from their natural resources.

Areva, which owns stakes in the Somair and Cominak mines, has been negotiating with Niger over new uranium mining contracts for two years. The mines’ 10-year licences expired on 31 December without a new agreement, although Niger issued a decree on 27 December providing a legal framework under the 2006 mining law for operations to continue.

The company is tight-lipped on discussions……..

The mines have been closed since mid-December for what Areva describes as routine maintenance. Some see the move as hardball tactics by the company to put pressure on the Nigerien government.

At heart of the matter is the country’s desire for a better deal. Niger accounts for more than a third of Areva’s uranium production, and President Mahamadou Issoufou’s government wants to increase the royalties the company pays from 5.5% of revenues to 12%, officials told Reuters…….

Niger is desperately poor, ranking last of the 187 countries in the 2012 UN Human Development Index. Three-quarters of its people live on less than $2 a day and malnutrition is rife, with the country beset by droughts. Although mining made up 70.8% of Niger’s exports in 2010, it contributed only 5.8% of the country’s gross domestic product.

According to a report from Oxfam France and the Niger arm of Publish What You Pay, the transparency group, Areva’s two mines produced uranium worth more than €3.5bn (£2.9bn) in 2010, but Niger received just €459m, or 13% of this amount. In 2012 Areva received tax exemptions worth €320m, the report says….

January 11, 2014 Posted by | Niger, politics, Uranium | Leave a comment

Call for a fair deal from AREVA, for Niger

Niger says seeks better uranium terms from French Areva  au news 6 Dec 13Paris (AFP) – Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou said in Paris on Friday that his country wanted to renew its uranium mining agreement with French nuclear giant Areva, but on more equitable terms….. Areva’s contract to extract uranium in the west African country expires on December 31, after more than four decades of mining at two sites on the southern edge of the Sahara, with a third under development………

December 10, 2013 Posted by | Niger, politics international, Uranium | Leave a comment

Thousands march in Niger to protest against AREVA

5,000 march against French uranium miner in Niger Els | October 12, 2013 Thousand of protestors marched against French uranium miner Areva (EPA:AREVA) in the remote town of Arlit in Niger on Saturday.

Areva has been operating in Niger for more than 50 years with two sites, Somair and Cominak, currently producing, and its long-term deal with the government of Niger is up for renegotiation at the end of 2013.

The roughly 5,000 protesters in Arlit were out in support of a Niger government audit to determine how to better distribute revenues from the two mines Reuters reports:

“We’re showing Areva that we are fed up and we’re demonstrating our support for the government in the contract renewal negotiations,” Azaoua Mamane, an Arlit civil society spokesman, said in an interview with a private radio station.

“We don’t have enough drinking water while the company pumps 20 million cubic meters of water each year for free. The government must negotiate a win-win partnership,” Mamane said.

The two mines together produce 4,500 tonnes of uranium for export to France and another project at Imouraren, which will be the largest uranium mine in Africa, is set to start operations in 2015.The Somair mine was back to full production in August, after a suicide attack in May killed one worker and injured 14 partially shutting down mining.

Prices for uranium are  languishing at 8-year lows of $34 a pound and have not recovered since the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011

October 17, 2013 Posted by | Niger, politics international, Uranium | Leave a comment

Niger aiming to get more taxes from Areva’s uranium mning

Niger’s Hedges Bets on French Uranium Assets Oil By Editorial Dept | Fri, 04 October 2013 Bottom Line: Under constant threat of terrorist attacks in the security nightmare of Niger, French nuclear group Areva will now face an audit of its uranium mines as the Nigerien government seeks a better deal.

Analysis: Areva has two mines in Niger: Somair and Cominak. Together these two facilities produce about one-third of France’s nuclear power. But the 10-year contract for these mines ends this year, and the government of Niger is planning to take advantage of that by auditing the company and determining how it can get a better deal. The plan will be to increase tax revenues from Areva and to force it into more significant investments in infrastructure. Areva was operating at a loss last year, but is eyeing over 1.1 billion euros in operating profits for this year—and Niger is hoping to get a bigger chunk of this through taxes and infrastructure deals. The government of Niger already owns a 36.4% stake in Somair and a 31% stake in Cominak. Areva will now be audited first based on claims from some groups that it is not transparently reporting its revenues and operating costs. A third mine that is under construction—Areva’s Imouraren uranium mine—is also under scrutiny. The government of Niger has warned that the company will face fines if there are any further delays to the opening of this mine, now slated for 2015.

Recommendation: This could all play into the security question due to the level of government corruption in Niger,…(furher reading -subscription only)

October 6, 2013 Posted by | Niger, politics, Uranium | Leave a comment

Niger government wants French uranium company AREVA to stop ripping it off

areva-medusa1Niger audits Areva uranium mines, seeking better deal By Daniel Flynn and Abdoulaye Massalatchi NIAMEY | Fri Sep 20, 2013  (Reuters) – Niger has ordered an audit of French nuclear group Areva’s (AREVA.PA) uranium mines in the West African country as it presses for a better deal in talks over a new long-term contract, Mining Minister Omar Hamidou Tchiana told Reuters.

Areva’s two mines in Niger – Somair and Cominak – produce the fuel for roughly one-third of France’s nuclear power, providing some of the cheapest electricity in the West.

Niger, a former French colony and one of the world’s poorest countries, has long complained it does not reap enough benefits from these resources……..

Extractive industries watchdogs, including the local branch of Publish What You Pay, have accused Areva of a lack of transparency in its revenues and costs in Niger…….

Previous Niger governments have struggled to substantially increase the state’s take from uranium and details of the 2003 mining contract have been kept confidential. The IMF estimates Niger’s gross domestic product at around 5.5 billion euros, only just over half of Areva’s revenues of 9.3 billion in 2012……..

September 21, 2013 Posted by | France, Niger, politics international, Uranium | Leave a comment


Uranium is France’s major strategic economic interest in the Sahel,

How long before the bombings hit Paris?

Niger’s Uranium Facilities Under Assault Oil Price, By John Daly, 03 June 2013 One of the scariest scenarios for Western intelligence analysts is the possible nexus between terrorism and nuclear materials Recent events in Africa have heightened these scenarios. Continue reading

June 4, 2013 Posted by | Niger, safety | Leave a comment

Niger uranium mine struck by suicide bombers

exclamation-Suicide bombers strike African uranium mine 24 May, 2013 Alex Heber Suicide bombers have killed at least 20 people in a French-run uranium mine in northern Niger.

About 50 people were injured at the mine when a suicide bomber drove into the front of the plant and blew up his vehicle, ABC reports.

The mine, located in the remote town of Arlit, has also reported key infrastructure has been badly damaged.

Islamist militants MUJWA are claiming responsibility for the attack.

The group which is also known as Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa is an offshoot of terrorist group Al Qaeda. MUJWA says the attack was at act of revenge for Niger’s involvement in the French-led intervention in Mali.

Niger’s president, Mahamadou Issoufou, has also confirmed French Special Forces have now moved in to protect the plant.

May 25, 2013 Posted by | incidents, Niger | Leave a comment


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