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(last updated 14 Jun 2016)
The following companies are performing uranium prospection and/or exploration in Niger: Bayswater Uranium Corporation (planned), Areva NC, Greencastle Resources Ltd. (planned), Forte Energy NL (planned), Southampton Ventures Inc. , North Atlantic Resources Ltd. , Selier Energy Niger SARL , Anglo-Canadian Uranium Corp. (planned), China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC), Société des Mines d'Azelik (SOMINA), Global Atomic Fuels Corporation , Homeland Uranium Inc. , Trendfield Holdings SA , Paladin Energy Ltd, NGM Resources Ltd, Indo Energy Ltd, Semafo Inc. , Orezone Gold Corporation , Niger Resources Inc. , Brighton Energy Ltd , Rockgate Capital Corp., COJ Commodity Investments Ltd (UK), Agadez Ltd (UK), Dharni Sampda Private Limited , Taurian Resources Niger S.A. , Rio Tinto, ATI Petroleum , Niger Uranium Limited, Niger Uranium SA, Nordic Diamonds Ltd. , Dhanani Holding Niger, La Société Salamat Mining Niger, Island Arc Exploration Corp. (application), GoviEx Uranium Inc., Artemis Resources Ltd , Oklo Uranium Ltd , Aura Energy Ltd , REC Minerals Corp. (planned), Brinkley Mining Plc , Semmous Lion Mining Ltd. , Earthstone Uranium FZE , Signet Mining Services Ltd , Niger Mining Services SARL , Gazprom OAO , Cooper Minerals Inc. , African Minerals
Opposition to uranium mining in Niger: Aghir in'Man , Collectif "Areva ne fera pas la loi au Niger" , Collectif Tchinaghen
Imouraren mine to start mining before 2020, French prime minister hopes: French prime minister Manuel Valls hopes that the Imouraren mine, the development of which is currently suspended indefinitely, will start operations before the end of the decade. (Le Figaro Nov. 23, 2014)
Areva signs uranium deal with Niger, delays new Imouraren mine:
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Areva loses confidence in uranium reserves at Imouraren deposit:
"Following the drilling campaign carried out from late 2012 to early 2013, Imouraren estimates confirmed the level of resources and reserves. However, due to uncertainties concerning the match between the geostatistical model and geological observations, proven reserves were transferred to probable reserves."
(2013 Reference Document, Areva, March 31, 2014)
The 2013 Reference Document lists 213,722 t U in probable reserves and no proven reserves, while the previous edition had listed 82,885 t U in proven and 130,837 t U in probable reserves.
Areva considering to postpone operation of Imouraren mine further to 2019-2020, paper; Areva denies:
According to French daily Libération, Areva considers to postpone the start of operation at the Imouraren uranium mine further to 2019-2020.
However, Areva meanwhile categorically denied any plans for further delays of the opening of the mine. (Libération Dec. 9, 2013)
Start of production at Areva's Imouraren uranium mine delayed further to the end of 2015: French nuclear company Areva will delay the start of uranium production from its Imouraren mine in Niger by at least six months to the end of 2015, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou said on Friday (Dec. 6). (Mining Weekly Dec. 6, 2013)
Production at Areva's Imouraren uranium mine not to start before mid-2015: Uranium production from Areva's Imouraren mine in Niger will not start before mid-2015, senior executive vice-president of mining Olivier Wantz said on Thursday (Mar. 7). (Reuters Mar. 7, 2013)
Areva to pay EUR 35 million compensation for delay of Imouraren uranium mine project: French nuclear company Areva has agreed to pay Niger EUR 35-million ($46.71-million) in compensation for delays to its Imouraren uranium mining project in the north of the desert country, a presidency official said on Sunday (Jan. 13). The mine is meant to more than double Niger's uranium output, making it the world's second-largest exporter of the nuclear fuel, but its start-up was delayed from 2012 after seven Areva workers were kidnapped three years ago. Areva had already pushed the mine's opening back to 2013 but Massaoudou Hassoumi, chief of staff to President Mamadou Issoufou, said the company had confirmed another delay. "This money is to compensate a year-long delay which will push production at the mine back to 2014 or 2015," he told a news conference, saying the company's "gift" to Niger would be laid out in a special protocol between Areva and the government. (Reuters Jan. 14, 2013)
Areva denies discussions with Chinese CGNPC on acquisition of share in Imouraren uranium mine project: Following an information published on the French website La Tribune on October 25, 2012, AREVA denied that discussions would be in progress with the Chinese power company CGNPC to acquire a share in the future uranium mine Imouraren located in the North Niger.
Niger warns Areva on delays to Imouraren uranium mine project: Niger warned French nuclear giant Areva on Thursday (Oct. 11) against any further delays to its Imouraren uranium mining project, saying it could not support a company that is unable to meet its commitments. The planned startup of production was delayed to 2013 or 2014 from 2012 after seven Areva workers were kidnapped in Niger's north two years ago. Construction work has also been hampered by labour disputes that triggered strikes earlier this year. (Reuters Oct. 11, 2012)
CRIIRAD and local NGO concerned about impacts of Areva's Imouraren mine, demand preparation of new EIA:
At a press conference held on Aug. 22, 2012, at Valence (France), the independent French radiation laboratory CRIIRAD and the Nigerien NGO Aghir in'Man have expressed their concerns about the exploitation of Areva's Imouraren uranium mine that is to start end 2013. The groups expect that the operation of the mine will lead to the drying up and contamination of water resources and the disappearance of pasture in an area covering hundreds of square kilometres. The mine will also have impacts on fauna and flora, according to the NGO's president Almoustapha Alhacen. CRIIRAD's Bruno Chareyron noted that the ore grade at Imouraren is very low, necessitating the excavation of 3.8 billion tonnes of rock to get at that uranium. Consequently, the open pit mine will have a length of 8 km and a width of 2.5 km. The pit will be surrounded by piles of waste rock with uranium concentrations too low for processing. Dust and seepage from these piles will have impacts on the health of the residents and on groundwater.
(AFP Aug. 22, 2012)
CRIIRAD and Aghir in'Man demand that Areva prepares a new Environmental Impact Assessment and provides precise answers regarding the hydrogeological impact, the long-term disposal of radioactive wastes, and the compensation of affected people.
> View CRIIRAD - Aghir in'Man release Aug. 28, 2012 (in French)
French president wants uranium production at Areva's Imouraren project in Niger to commence as soon as possible: French president François Hollande has spoken out in favour of uranium production at Areva's Imouraren project to commence as soon as possible, preferably before the planned 2014 date. (Reuters June 11, 2012)
Strike halts construction work on Areva's Imouraren uranium mine project: Workers at Areva's Imouraren uranium mining project in Niger began a week-long strike over labour conditions on Wednesday (Apr. 25), union and company officials said, halting construction at the site. The mine is meant to begin production of 5,000 tonnes of uranium per year starting in 2014. (Reuters Apr. 25, 2012)
Imouraren uranium mine on track for 2014, Niger says:
Areva's Imouraren uranium mining project in Niger will likely start production in 2014 after delays caused by kidnappings of foreign workers in the country's north, mines minister Omar Hamidou Tchiana said on Tuesday [Feb. 21].
Tchiana added that a deal reached with partners last week raising the country's extraction price of uranium to 73,000 CFA francs [US$ 144.36] per kilogram [= US$ 55.52 per lb U3O8] from 70,000 CFA/kg would provide a boost to the West African state's economy.
The Imouraren mine, which is being developed by French nuclear company Areva, was meant to start producing in 2012, but work was suspended after seven Areva workers were kidnapped in the northern area of Arlit in 2010. Al Qaeda's north African wing, which operates in the impoverished nation's vast desert, claimed responsibility for the kidnappings and later released three of the hostages. Development of the mine also fell into question after Japan suffered earthquakes and a deadly tsunami in 2011 that triggered meltdowns and a radiation crisis at Tokyo Electric's Fukushima Daiichi plant, fanning public safety fears worldwide. Areva has said the mine will start in 2013 or 2014. (Reuters Feb. 21, 2012)
Rumors growing that Areva plans to delay Imouraren uranium mine project: According to the Internet site L'Expansion, Areva plans to delay the uranium mine project beyond 2013 as part of a massive restructuring program that is to be set up in reaction to a drop in demand caused by the German nuclear phase-out and the Fukushima disaster. (Le Monde Oct. 18, 2011)
Areva ready to give Chinese access to Imouraren uranium mine: French nuclear giant Areva is ready to open up to a Chinese partner the Imouraren uranium mine in northwestern Niger, which it partially owns, the French president's office said Thursday (Nov. 4). (AFP Nov. 5, 2010)
Areva sees 2013 start-up at Niger uranium mine: French nuclear group Areva said Tuesday (July 20) it hoped to have its huge uranium mine at Imouraren in northern Niger operational by the end of 2013. The mine is expected to produce 5,000 tonnes of uranium a year and represents an investment of more than 1.2 billion euros (1.5 billion dollars). (AFP July 20, 2010)
Imouraren uranium mine startup delayed: French nuclear energy group Areva said on Friday (Feb. 26) it will start producing uranium at its Imouraren mine in Niger in 2013 or 2014, rather than 2012 as planned, because of fallout from the global financial crisis. The mine is still expected to produce 5,000 tonnes per year, Areva said. (Reuters Feb. 26, 2010)
In Niger, Areva should invest 1.2 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in the Imouraren project, scheduled to come on stream in 2012. The project is already delayed a year because of political turbulence in the country. "We will decide in 2011-2012 whether we should scale it for 2,000 tons or 5,000 tons or even 7,000 tons," Sébastien de Montessus, director of Areva's mining business unit said. The current uranium price (US$ 55 / lb U3O8) wouldn't be enough to make an investment of $500 million to $1.5 billion profitable, De Montessus said. "The market price has to go up to $70 to $80." (Bloomberg June 23, 2009)
On May 4, 2009, the foundation stone was laid for the Imouraren uranium mine project. (AFP May 4, 2009)
On Jan. 5, 2009, Areva announced the receipt of a licence to operate the Imouraren mine. Mining is due to begin in 2012.
On July 31, 2008, Areva announced the receipt of the environmental approval for its Imouraren uranium mine project. The approval is part of the documentation for the exploitation permit applied for by Areva on May 15, 2008.
On Jan. 13, 2008, Areva announced it has received government agreement to launch mining at the Imouraren deposit and to extend its exploration scope. With a planned investment of over 1 billion euros (approximately 650 billion FCFA), the Imouraren site will constitute the biggest industrial mining project ever under consideration in Niger, placing it at the second world rank with almost 5,000 tons of uranium produced annually.
Heavily-armed men attacked a camp of uranium prospectors in northern Niger early on Apr. 20, 2007, killing a security guard and wounding three other people, industry sources said. Some 20-30 men demanding a better deal for local Tuareg people raided the camp operated by the French nuclear energy group Areva housing around 250 people and made off with six vehicles and a large number of mobile phones. The raid took place at Imouraren, 85 kilometres south of the main uranium-producing centre of Arlit, the sources said. The gunmen said they belonged to a group called the Niger Movement for Justice, which emerged in February 2007. They called for the proper implementation of a 1995 accord which ended a Tuareg rebellion by promising the tribesmen priority in jobs with local mining companies. (AFP Apr. 20, 2007)
Areva may begin producing 4,000 tonnes of uranium a year starting in 2011 from a deposit located in Imouraren, said Mohamed Abdoulahi, Minister of Mines and Energy. The Imouraren deposit contains 146,000 tonnes, one of the world's biggest. Areva's project will cost as much as 500 million euros, said Oumarou Massalbi, director of mines at the ministry. (The Standard Mar. 8, 2007)
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Azelik mine in Niger sends first uranium shipment to China On Oct. 22, 2012, CNNC's Azelik mine sent the first shipment of uranium product to China. Construction of the mine started in July 2008, and pilot production commenced in March 2011. (CNNC Oct. 30, 2012)
Niger secures $99 million China loan for Azelik uranium mine: Niger has secured a 650 million yuan preferential loan from China's Export-Import Bank to fund development of the Azelik uranium mine in the country's north, the government said. Niger and China's National Nuclear Corporation formed a joint venture, Somina, in 2007 for development of the Azelik deposit, with production of 700 tonnes per year. The loan is repayable in 15 years with a five-year grace period and an interest rate of 2 percent, a source close to the joint-venture company told Reuters on condition of anonymity. The government did not comment on the terms of the loan. (Reuters Apr. 1, 2011)
China produces first overseas uranium in Niger: The Azelik mine produced its first barrels of uranium product on Dec. 30, 2010. The company will now continue testing and improvements to reach full capacity as soon as possible. (CNNC Dec. 31, 2010)
The overseas arm of China National Nuclear Corp expects to produce its first uranium this year and to raise production to 2,500 tonnes by 2015, an executive said on Tuesday (Nov. 16). Chen Yuehui deputy general manager of China Uranium Corporation told a conference that the Azelik mine in Niger, 37.2 percent owned by the company, would start trial production before the year-end. China Uranium Corp plans to take output to 4,000-5,000 tonnes by 2020. It also plans to have total uranium resources of 1 million tonnes by 2015. (Reuters Nov. 16, 2010)
China uranium mining company causes unrest in Niger:
The sun-wizened Tuareg women of Azalik have declared war on China. Like their ancestors, they once eked out a living selling dried salts from an ancestral well. Everything changed last year, when the government leased their land to the China Nuclear International Uranium Corporation (Sino-U) for uranium exploration. Left with no livelihood and no compensation, a hundred women gathered to launch stones at mining machinery.
"Now it is eternal war," says Tinatina Salah, their 50-year-old leader, who still seeks compensation for the loss of her salt.
Tuareg rebels accuse deposed president Tandja's administration and mining companies of neglecting development in the north, which is a Tuareg stronghold. Last month Nigerien workers – many of whom are Tuareg – denounced in a written statement conditions at SOMINA, claiming it resembled "a Chinese colony." Nigerien laborers sleep in dorms, separately from Chinese workers. The rooms are located in illegal proximity to open pit uranium mines, and the Nigeriens suffer chronic diarrhea on account of an unsanitary water supply, the document charged. (Christian Science Monitor Mar. 29, 2010)
Consultant identifies numerous deficiences with proposed environmental management and missing public consultation for Azelik uranium mine project:
"SRK makes the following observations in respect to the conformance of the proposed environmental management measures of the Azelik Uranium Project, with recognised international guidelines and practices:
Sinohydro Corp. , China's leading hydraulic construction contractor announced it has secured a 140 million U.S. dollar uranium mine construction deal in Niger with China Nuclear International Uranium Corp. (SinoUranium). The contract calls for building a uranium mine with annual output of 600,000 tons, a coal-fired power plant and a hydrometallurgy plant in the African country, Sinohydro said in a statement on its website. The construction will last 900 days. (People's Daily Online Apr. 8, 2008)
On Nov. 9, 2007, the government of Niger granted Société des Mines d'Azelik (SOMINA) a mining license for the Azelik uranium deposit. SOMINA was formed on June 5, 2007, by the state of Niger and its Chinese partners. On June 19, 2007, the company applied for a mining license for the Azelik uranium deposit. The application was accompanied by an environmental impact study which was approved in July 2007, and a technical-economical feasibility study. The license was granted, after the latter study had been modified, as requested by the authorities. (Tamtaminfo Nov. 9, 2007)
CNNC plans the first production from the Teguidda deposit for the beginning of 2010. (Trendfield, July 24, 2006)
Mining Permit issued for Madaouéla uranium mine project:
Niger has awarded a permit to GoviEx Niger Holdings Ltd., the Niger branch of GoviEx, to exploit uranium for investments worth $676 million at the 243-km Madaouela Project in the Agadez region, according to a government statement.
Niamey also granted four permits for uranium exploration to GoviEx Niger Holding Ltd. and two other companies, said the statement, which is read on public television.
(Reuters Jan. 26, 2016)
Despite the news, GoviEx on Tuesday (Jan. 26) also announced that it had initiated a strategic realignment plan to aggressively reduce operating and sustaining costs through a programme of targeted compensation adjustments, non-essential retrenchments, cut-backs in overheads, and other cost-cutting measures. These changes were forecast to reduce operating costs by approximately 50%, GoviEx advised. (Mining Weekly Jan. 27, 2016)
Mining Permit application filed for Madaouéla uranium mine project: On June 30, 2015, GoviEx Uranium Inc. announced that the Mining Permit application for the company's Madaouela Uranium Project in the prolific Arlit uranium-mining district of northern Niger has been filed with the Government of Niger.
Environmental and Social Impact Assessment submitted for Madaouéla uranium mine project: On Mar. 10, 2015, GoviEx Uranium Inc. announced that the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the company's Madaouéla Uranium Project has been completed and filed with the Nigerien Minister in charge of the Environment.
Environmental and Social Impact Assessment to be completed for Madaouéla Uranium Project: On July 2, 2014, GoviEx Uranium Inc. announced that the Company has executed contracts with SRK Consulting (UK) Ltd and Legeni S.A. to finalize the completion of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment ("ESIA") for the Madaouéla Project in Niger.
Madaouéla mine project feasible - if uranium price doubles:
On Mar. 28, 2014, GoviEx Uranium Inc. released an "an updated integrated
development plan for the Madaouela project, Niger". The ore is to be mined in open pit and underground mines. The ore is to be pre-concentrated in a two-stage sorting process, including ablation for the second stage. The feasibility study assumes a uranium price of US$ 70 per lb U3O8 - more than twice the current spot price (US$ 34 per lb U3O8).
On Apr. 2, 2014, GoviEx announced a public offering to fund further exploration drilling at the site.
> For the use of ablation technology, see also: Hansen project, Colorado
On April 23, 2012, GoviEx Uranium Inc. announced that the company has closed a US$40 million strategic financing and executed an off-take agreement with Japanese industrial and nuclear giant Toshiba Corporation to advance the development of GoviEx's Madaouéla Project. A pre-feasibility study is scheduled for completion toward the end of 2012. The start of production is planned "before 2018".
On June 14, 2011, GoviEx Uranium Inc. released the summary of the Preliminary Economic Assessment on the company's Madaouéla Project in Niger.
On Nov. 8, 2010, GoviEx Uranium Inc. announced positive results of the Preliminary Economic Assessment of the mine planned at the company's Madaouéla Project in Niger.
> Calculate mine feasibility
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