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INTERVIEW:  Niger: “In Arlit, people drink water contaminated by radioactivity”

 This fear is also present in
 The word Areva is scary. It’s a taboo subject unless it’s to magnify the business. People want to talk, but like the Nigerian government, they feel helpless against this multinational. When I was doing my scouting, many people told me that I was putting myself in danger. Here, when you talk about Areva, it’s like a God, you should not call your name out loud.

In the documentary, you show this radioactive dust, poisoned water, houses built with land mines, contaminated food, livestock dying .

Houses must even be destroyed because the clay walls contain radioactivity.

The uranium deposits exploited by Orano (formerly Areva) are poisoning the population, explains Amina Weira, author of a documentary on the subject.

Interview by Matteo Maillard (Dakar, correspondence) http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2018/02/26/niger-a-arlit-les-gens-boivent-de-l-eau-contaminee-par-la-radioactivite_5262875_3212.html  THE WORLD  27.02.2018

It was a Tuareg encampment swept by bursts of Saharan simoun. Today it is a city that bears the mark of its development as its decadence. In Arlit, in northern Niger, uranium has been a source of hope since the French group Areva (renamed Orano in January) began mining the deposits in the 1970s.

Many nomads and workers came to this arid region. the workers’ city which was then called “the second Paris”. None knew the invisible danger of radioactivity.

Forty years later, Niger became the second largest supplier of uranium to Areva, but the mining of Cominak and Somair contaminated the population in its daily activities. It is in the sanded streets of her childhood that Amina Weira, a 29-year-old Nigerian filmmaker, posed her camera in front of the elders who lived through the early days of mining. In this film entitled La Rage dans le vent, presented in Dakar as part of the Films Femmes Afrique festival, she shows the invisible threat hanging over Arlit. Interview.

In your movie, the main protagonist is your father. You visit your relatives and tell the city of your childhood. Why did you choose this intimate setting?

 Amina Weira:   Because mine has always been part of our lives. My father worked there as an electrician. When my sisters and I saw him go to work, we imagined he was going to an office. The mine was visible from a distance, until in 2010 we visited his place of work and realized that he was going down into this big hole. I decided to make a film about it. I quickly understood, after research, that behind this activity was hiding something else less visible: irradiation. So I directed my film on the health aspect.

How did you realize the impact of the mine on the health of the inhabitants? 

When I was little already, the mother of one of my classmates had health problems every time she came to Arlit. It was necessary to evacuate it to Niamey, more than a thousand kilometers, to cure it. I did not understand why she could not live here. Later, when I wanted to do the film, I asked scientists and doctors about the dangers of mining. In Arlit, there are many health problems. Respiratory difficulties, cancers, women who give birth to poorly trained children … Small, we saw all that, but we did not make the link. People used to say, as often in Africa, “it’s his destiny, it’s God who gave him a child like that”. It is mostly mine retirees who are affected. Many die of paralysis and strange diseases.

 In the documentary, you show this radioactive dust, poisoned water, houses built with land mines, contaminated food, livestock dying …

I wanted to bring out everyday life, show all the activities of the city. We see the manufacture of pots: people recover the scrap metal from the mine, melt it and transform it into kitchen utensils that they sell to the population or export to Nigeria. They do not measure the danger of this activity. When they melt iron, the radioactivity is released. This is where Areva must intervene, preventing the population from recovering this contaminated scrap metal.

Houses must even be destroyed because the clay walls contain radioactivity.

 It should be understood that in the beginning, Arlit was a camp, a city of miners, then people came to settle, hoping to take advantage of this activity. Today, there are nearly 150,000 inhabitants, including about 4,000 mine workers. Areva created this city from scratch. The workers had to have all the conditions to stay. They had children, it took schools. They were sick, it took hospitals. To build, the inhabitants used the contaminated clay around them. Some neighborhoods are within 200 meters of the mine. The standards are not respected. And sandstorms propagate radioactivity in the city.

We also see women whose livestock die inexplicably.

When we drink Arlit’s water, we feel that it is not quite drinkable, that it is different from the rest of the country. The women talk about Areva employees who only drink mineral water, when they can not afford it. One of the mines is below the water table. Some are therefore deliver water from neighboring regions. A water tower has just been built, but it is not enough to supply the entire city.

 You do not present your film as an investigation, there are no scientists or organizations that support your remarks. Why ?

 I did not want to dwell on the numbers, but to give the floor to the people. Too often, we give the floor to the leaders of Areva. But many organizations have researched and analyzed radioactivity in the region, such as the Criirad [Commission for Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity], Greenpeace, WHO [World Health Organization]. Radioactivity levels are higher than the rest of the country.

What do you say to Areva?

 That they have monopolized our wealth without warning the workers of the risks incurred. They have relied on the ignorance of the people to make profit. The workers live in a city where they pay neither water nor electricity nor rent. There is a certain luxury that keeps them in silence, because it is difficult to spit in the soup. Niger has a very high unemployment rate. An unemployed youth is not going to think twice about offering these benefits. He gets used to this luxury and even if he realizes the harmful effects on his health, he will not say anything for fear of losing his job.

 Have you been pressured by Areva during filming?

No, not at all, it is rather the Nigerian authorities who wanted to block me. I had obtained filming authorizations from the National Film Center and Arlit Town Hall. We were arrested twice, but since I was in good standing, they left me alone. The title of the movie, Anger in the Wind, helped me a lot. They thought I was making a film about the wind, the desert, without much knowledge of the synopsis.
 
Why was the film censored in Niger?
By fear. When I propose the film to movie theater operators, they say they do not want any problems. They are afraid that my producers, who are part of the alternative environment, are perceived as opponents. I broadcast my film in several French institutes in Africa. That of Niamey also wanted to disseminate it, but it has not received the approval of the Embassy of France.

 This fear is also present in the population?

 The word Areva is scary. It’s a taboo subject unless it’s to magnify the business. People want to talk, but like the Nigerian government, they feel helpless against this multinational. When I was doing my scouting, many people told me that I was putting myself in danger. Here, when you talk about Areva, it’s like a God, you should not call your name out loud.

 Has the film been successful abroad?
Yes, it has been around the world since 2016 and has won a dozen awards. After Brazil and the United States, I was invited to Japan. I did not think one day make a movie that would be seen until there. It’s a pride, I tell myself that my work has served something. But I made this film for my country first and I hope that someday it can be seen there.

Towards the end of the film, a group of young Nigerians said, “We have richness in our basement, but all we are left with is radioactivity. Is it a shared feeling?
 
These young people are part of an association whose slogan is “the post-mine”. They say that uranium is a natural resource that will run out one day or another. In Arlit, which exists only by uranium, if this resource disappears or if Areva decides to no longer exploit it, what will become of it? Will the city continue to exist? If Areva leaves today, the only legacy left to them is this radioactive waste. This “post-mine” must be planned now. You have to prepare for that.

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February 28, 2018 Posted by | health, Niger, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Uranium | Leave a comment

AREVA’s new entity NewCo struggles with unprofitable uranium mine in Niger

Romandie 31st Oct 2017,[Machine translation] NewCo, Areva’s entity resulting from the
restructuring of the nuclear group refocused on the fuel cycle, has had to
depreciate some of its assets, particularly the uranium mine Imouraren in
Niger, according to a statement released Tuesday.

NewCo published Tuesday its accounts for a shortened eight-month period (from January 1 to August
31, 2017), a decision taken as part of the restructuring of the group and
the exit of this entity from the tax consolidation perimeter so far
constituted around Areva SA. Although the published financial results
cannot be compared to the previous year of 12 months, the group
nevertheless indicated that it had spent 256 million euros in new
impairments between 30 June and 31 August.

Among them, 210 million euros concern mining assets, including 178 million euros for the only Imouraren
mine in Niger. The exploitation of this gigantic mine has been in abeyance
for several years, for want of a favorable conjuncture in civilian nuclear
power. Areva had already depreciated this asset twice, in 2015 and 2016, by
respectively 194 and 316 million euros. The new impairment losses are
linked to “both the unfavorable change in the euro-dollar exchange rate and
the unfavorable change in market price expectations” (of uranium), the
group said.

November 3, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, France, Niger | Leave a comment

Why is Niger still losing out to Areva?

 Extract-a-fact,  By Quentin Parrinello 18th Sept 2017, In 2014, Niger announced it had successfully renegotiated uranium
extraction contracts with French state-owned company Areva to secure a
greater share of the wealth deriving from their uranium resources.

Three years later, an analysis carried out by Oxfam based on data released by
Areva calls into question the benefits for Niger in the contract
renegotiation.
http://www.extractafact.org/blog/why-is-niger-still-losing-out-to-areva

September 23, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, France, Niger, politics international | Leave a comment

The Sahara’s little known nuclear wasteland

In the Sahara, a Little-Known Nuclear Wasteland, “There’s nothing nuclear in what I do. It’s just rocks we dilute into powder.”, Catapult, Hannah Rae Armstrong Apr 12, 2017  Activist Azara Jalawi lives with her mother, a nomad; her daughter Amina, who watches Mexican soap operas and dates a local human trafficker; her son Doudou, nicknamed “Slim Shady,” and a lean girl, probably a slave, in the town of Arlit, Niger, a mining hub of about forty thousand set deep within the Tuareg Sahara, a slow-baking proto-Chernobyl, a little-known nuclear wasteland.

Around Arlit, prehistoric volcanoes and petrified forests rise from the sand. Beneath it lie the skulls of giant crocodiles who preyed on dinosaurs a hundred million years ago. Within the rocky plateaus are havens like the oasis at Timia, where orange, grapefruit, and pomegranate groves ripen and flower in the desert. For forty years, the French nuclear-energy giant Areva has mined uranium here, and milled it into yellowcake, the solid concentrate that is the first step towards enriching uranium for nuclear fuel or weapons. Three miles outside the town, fifty million tons of radioactive tailings—a waste byproduct containing heavy metals and radon—sit in heaps that resemble unremarkable hills. In strong winds and sandstorms, radioactive particles scatter across the desert. “Radon daughters,” odorless radioactive dust, blanket the town. Public health and the environment exhibit strange symptoms of decay—mysterious illnesses are multiplying; grasses and animals are stunted. The people of Arlit are told that desertification and AIDS are to blame. ………..

Living atop an open-pit uranium mine has made the people ill, in ways they do not understand. Breathing radioactive dust, drinking contaminated well water, and sleeping between walls stitched from radioactive scrap metal and mud, the people tell stories to fill the gaps in their knowledge. ………

At her brother Doudou’s high school, funded by the mining company, students are told not to do drugs or set things on fire. Teachers tell Doudou nothing about the contaminated well water he consumes daily. At lunch on my first day in Arlit, I ask nervously about the source of the water in a chilled glass bottle on the table. “Don’t worry, it’s the well water,” they assure me. “We drink it all the time.” I learn later that well water readings reveal contamination one hundred times beyond the World Health Organization’s threshold for potable water.

………. a dim awareness of the contamination risks was just beginning. Almoustapha Alhacen, a yellowcake miller and environmental activist, recognizes himself on the cover of a 2012 book I’ve brought with me: “Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade.” He is the man wearing a gas mask and gloves. “The problem with Areva is it never informed people that radioactivity exists and that it is dangerous,” he says. An NGO called the Commission for Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity (CRIIRAD), created by a French EU deputy after the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe, equipped him with a device and trained him to take readings. Once, he recalls, he saw a pregnant woman eating mud next to the road that leads from the mine to the town. This road is often tamped down with clay from the mines, and the tires that cross it regularly give it a fresh, invisible wash of radon. Almoustapha took a reading there and found radioactivity twenty-four times higher than the safe level. At markets selling scrap metal used for building houses, and at the community taps where people draw water, he took readings that were off the charts.

“Arlit was built around uranium. And humanity needs uranium,” Almoustapha says, speaking quickly and with rage. “But what happens next for us, when the uranium runs out, Areva leaves, and we are left with 50 million tons of radioactive waste?” As an activist, he ponders the future and the environment with seriousness. But these become abstract concerns before the fact of his job, which he needs right now. In a white turban and sunglasses, with sequined leather jewelry adorning his chest, he protests: “There’s nothing nuclear in what I do. It’s just rocks we dilute into powder, powder we dilute into liquid. It’s just mechanics, like for any car.” …….

If any state benefits from the distraction counter-terrorism provides from these underlying issues, it is France. Insecurity shields the mines from environmental scrutiny. Threats justify deepening militarization, an ongoing erosion of Nigerien sovereignty and independence. And the French mines still face no real obstacle to radiating the radiant desert. In fact, they’re expanding. A new mine—Africa’s largest—is being built near Arlit, at a site called Imouraren. There, a “security belt” encircles 100,000 acres, marking the land off limits to nomads.
https://catapult.co/stories/in-the-sahara-a-little-known-nuclear-wasteland#

April 14, 2017 Posted by | environment, Niger, Uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

UK-Australian and French uranium companies polluting the “unpolluted” African States

uranium-oreUranium from Russia, with love, Ecologist, Nick Meynen 4th August, 2016

“………..the bigger issue should be that uranium mining is just a very dirty business that we didn’t clean up but source out. France used to have 200+ uranium mines but thanks to better care for environment and workers the last one closed in 2001. Instead, new ones were opened in places like NigerNamibia and Malawi. In short: places where we can shift the real costs from uranium mining to the people and environment. As a matter of fact, CEOs in the business are quite frank about that. The former CEO of Paladin, John Borshoff, an Australian uranium producer who opened mines in Namibia, said that Canadian and Australian environmental norms are “over-sophisticated“. What he actually means is that in African countries you don’t need to pay much or anything at all to “protect” either your workers or the people living in the vicinity from dying from cancer due to exposure to uranium.

He’s just implementing the Lawrence Summers Principle. This ‘principle’ originates from a 1991 memo written or dictated by Summers whilst he was the World Bank’s chief economist. In this memo, he promoted dumping toxic waste in the Third World for economic reasons: “Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Least Developed Countries]? […] A given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.”

The uranium sector squared up to that. But for how much longer will it get away with that?

Last time rebels in Mali came too close to the AREVA mines in Niger for comfort, France suddenly sent in their army. Under some humanitarian pretext. And if rebels don’t succeed in capturing these remote mines, the global environmental justice movement might just succeed in closing a couple of them down.

The legacy from uranium mining

Being part of that movement, I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ of making a toxic tour around a now closed uranium mine in Bulgaria. Massive amounts of toxic sludge were stored behind a weak dam that showed signs of distress after heavy rains caused a spill in 2009. Old EU money was still keeping the dam up but as we’re talking about radioactive waste, money will need to keep flowing to dam repairs for millennia to come.

Since 1992, when the mines closed, and for time immemorial, that will be public money. And that’s how it goes with uranium mines in places with weak or no legislation: short-term private profits followed by perpetual public losses. In Bulgaria the people are still lucky enough to be in the EU with at least some environmental regulations and EU money for environmental protections. The same goes for other EU countries like France, which has dozens of zombie mines: dead but still active. The US also has plenty more zombie mines. The lands of the Navajo Nation include over 500 abandoned uranium mines (AUMs) as well as homes and drinking water sources with elevated levels of radiation. Despite the fact that they stopped operating in 1986, new and related lung cancers, bone cancers and impaired kidney functions keep appearing.

But while EU and US now have enough safeguards to keep their own uranium safe under the ground, there’s nothing of that in Namibia or Niger. These two countries are rising players on the uranium market, both exporting their uranium to the EU. Niger has now produced more uranium than France ever did in it’s whole history. It’s here that UK-Australian and French companies are doing the dirty digging that destroys local environment and populace.

Three reports from the EU-funded EJOLT project deal with the environmental and social issues related to uranium mining. One deals with the impacts, one concentrates on a mine in Malawi and the third dwells on the examples of successful resistance to big mining in general.

Bruno Chareyron, a French nuclear engineer who authored most of these reports, has been carrying out toxic tours along uranium mines for the last two decades. That’s not always an easy job, with for example the police confiscating most of your measuring equipment upon arrival in Niger. Nevertheless, Bruno was able to measure that radioactive scrap metal from the mines and mills is sold on the market. Waste rocks from the mines were used to pave roads, build homes and even at the local hospital where the radiation was 100 times above normal. Piles of radioactive waste were left in open air, unprotected, next to two cities with a total population of 120.000.

The missing piece of the puzzle

Where is uranium in the whole debate about nuclear energy? It’s usually only mentioned when the industry says: uranium is only a tiny part of the total cost of our energy model, unlike the situation in the gas and oil industry.

Well, there’s a reason why it’s only a tiny part of the total cost and it’s called cost shifting.

Ecological economists have given names to processes witnessed in the uranium sector:accumulation by contaminationecologically unequal exchange and ecological debt. More and more, people all over the world are coming together to resist against environmental justice.

Our EU and US based nuclear power is currently coming at the cost of poisoning people in Africa. But it begs the question: are we ready to face that reality?

This Author:

Nick Meynen is one of The Ecologist New Voices contributors. He writes blogs and bookshttp://www.epo.be/uitgeverij/boekinfo_auteur.php?isbn=9789064455803 on topics like environmental justice, globalization and human-nature relationships.

When not wandering in the activist universe or his Facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/nick.meynen
is dead, he’s probably walking in nature.   

@nickmeynen   http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2987988/uranium_from_russia_with_love.html

August 5, 2016 Posted by | environment, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, politics international, Reference, Uranium | Leave a comment

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

EUROPE TARGETS WORLD’S MAJOR URANIUM PRODUCER NIGER. In Depth News, 

“……….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]…….http://www.indepthnews.info/index.php/global-issues/2437-europe-targets-worlds-major-uranium-producer-niger

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. http://rt.com/op-edge/165092-west-africa-uranium-games/

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)……. https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/niger-areva-hard-won-uranium-085912953.html

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……https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/23870138/areva-signs-uranium-deal-with-niger-delays-new-mine/

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……http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/feb/28/niger-fails-uranium-mining-deal-french-firm-areva

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 http://ecowatch.com/2014/01/24/worlds-poorest-radioactive-areva-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    theguardian.com 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….http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/jan/10/niger-uranium-mining-dispute-african-natural-resource

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………http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/business/world/a/20197961/niger-says-seeks-better-uranium-terms-from-french-areva/

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