AUGUST 5, 2023 https://orinocotribune.com/
This image from a video shows the collapse of a gold mine in the Maradi region’s village of Dan Issa, Niger. Near the border with Nigeria, Sunday, Nov 7, 2021. Photo: AP.
With immediate effect, the Republic of Niger, under the leadership of new president General Abdourahamane Tchiani, and supported by the people of the country, announced the suspension of the export of uranium and gold to France on Sunday.
In parallel to the decision, protestors were surrounding the French Embassy in Niger calling for the end of French colonial practices repeating the slogan “Down with France!” and reaffirming their support to the coup leader, Tchiani.
Wazobia Reporters, a Nigerien news website,reported one protestor proclaiming “We have uranium, diamonds, gold, oil, and we live like slaves? We don’t need the French to keep us safe.”
Simultaneously the Nigerien coup leader has faced condemnations and threats from African governments that maintain ties with the European linked institutions such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the EU as well as the African Union. In that regard, Tchiani said, “We want to once more remind ECOWAS or any other adventurer of our firm determination to defend our homeland.”
It is also worth noting that Niger, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), is the world’s seventh-biggest producer of uranium. The WNA also confirms that Niger, in 2022, produced 2020 tU which would be considered just over 4% of world uranium output.
Currently, uranium production in Niger occurs mostly through a French majority-owned company called Orano which owns 63.4% of Société des Mines de l’Aïr (SOMAÏR). The remaining 36.66% of this is owned by Niger’s Société du Patrimoine des Mines du Niger, known as Sopamin.
In 2021, the European Union utilities purchased 2905 tU of Niger-produced uranium making Niger the leading uranium supplier vis-a-vis the EU.
Earlier, on July 28, Orano released a statement arguing that “the situation remains unstable” in Niger following the overthrowing of French ally and President of Niger Muhammed Bazoum. The company then added that it has “set up a crisis unit to prioritize the safety of its employees” and underscored that “this event to have any immediate impact on its activities in Niger or on the value of its assets.”