- A French mining company, Areva, has lost monopoly over the extraction, search and sale of Niger’s uranium. The company has held the exclusive privileges for 40 years.
Niger’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mrs. Aïchatou Mindaoudou, said the move is aimed at diversifying more partners instead of relying on a single company.
Areva is the world’s main civilian nuclear energy company. It has got two uranium deposits in the West African country. Though Areva has renewed its accords with the Nigerien government, but it will lose the monopoly status come the beginning of 2008.
Seini Oumarou, Niger’s Prime Minister said the uranium per kilo price of 42 euro offered by Areva is far below the world market price of 180 euro per kilo.
Niger government and the French company have been at loggerheads for sometime but the expulsion of Areva Manager, Dominique Pin, has added salt to the injury. Mr Pin was accused of bankrolling the Tourareg rebels of the Movement of Nigeriens for Justice that has been at war with the government.
The rebels have now agreed to hold talks with the government, leading to the release of some soldiers held by the rebels.
The Nigerien President, Mamadou Tandja, had earlier disclosed his government’s readiness to sell 300 tons of uranium on the world market directly
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