01 July 2024

It Was Inevitable

The government of Niger has revoked the operating license of the French government owned nuclear fuel company Orano at the Imouraren mine, likely because it has not done anything to develop its concession, and hence deliver any royalties, for nearly a decade:

Orano said it has been excluded from the Imouraren mine in northern Niger which sits on an estimated 200,000 tonnes of the metal, used for nuclear power and weapons.

Mining was meant to have started at Imouraren in 2015 but development was frozen after the collapse in world uranium prices in the wake of the 2011 Japanese nuclear disaster.

The Niger government did not immediately comment on the company's statement. But it had vowed to review mining concessions in the country and the mining ministry had warned that it would take away Orano's licence if development work had not started by June 19.

A week before the deadline, Orano told AFP that "preparatory work" had recently started at Imouraren.
Yeah, like 3 porta-potties, I guess.


The junta vowed to review foreign mining concessions in the country after it took power in July last year.

The military rulers have also turned against France, ordering out French troops based in the country and increasing criticism of the former colonial power. Niger has increasingly turned to Russia and Iran for support.

Chinese, Australian, US, British, Italian, Canadian, Russian and Indian firms have secured uranium mining licenses in recent years. In 2022 there were 31 prospecting permits and 11 mining licences.

The Azelik mining company, majority held by Chinese interests, is increasingly taking over uranium mining in the north of the country that have been suspended for the past decade because of poor profitability.

Considering the terms of the concessions that prior regimes in Niger gave to French interests, the term larceny comes to mind, I am surprised that they could not make the numbers work.

There have been a string of coups in the Sahel over the past few years, and anger over the continued French economic and political dominance over their former colonies has been a driving force behind the military overthrow of these government.

To the Juntas now ruling these countries, hating on the French is both good policy and good politics.


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