VENTURES AFRICA – Niger has called for an “audit” into Areva’s uranium mines, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
With this investigation, Niger wants to get an improved deal from the new long term contract it could enter into with the French nuclear firm.
Areva’s two uranium mines, Cominak and Somair, have had a decade-long contract with Niger and the contract will come to an end by the close of this year.
Omar Tchiana, Niger’s Mining Minister, told Reuters they hold Areva in high esteem as their partner.
“But we want a balanced partnership,” Tchiana told Reuters in an interview. “We are going to make sure that Niger benefits from the extraction of uranium.”
Niger has always protested at not benefiting adequately from its natural reserves.
In addition, Niger plans to hike tax revenues. It has called on Areva to invest in infrastructure.
This will include the construction of a new motorway to the far-flung mining zone of Arlit. Arlit is over 1,000 km north of Niamey, the capital city of Niger.
According to Reuters, Cominak and Somair, provide petroleum to about “one-third” of the French nuclear power.
Global uranium prices have plunged in recent times following Japan’s 2011 Fukushima tragedy. This crisis has negatively impacted Areva’s profits.