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5,000 march against French uranium miner in Niger

by Frik Els | October 12, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of

Thousand of protestors marched against French uranium miner AREVA in the remote town of Arlit in Niger on October 12.

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

5,000 march against French uranium miner in Niger

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 metres 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. 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.

Prices for uranium are languishing at eight-year lows of $34 a pound and have not recovered since the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan despite more than 70 reactors being built around the world, 29 of them in China.

Reprinted by permission of

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