Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

The French nuclear fuel production company “Orano” said Thursday evening in a statement that the Nigerian government has canceled its license to operate one of the largest uranium mines in the world.

“Urano” reported that the Nigerian authorities decided to exclude it from the “Imurarin” mine in the north of the country, which contains about 200 thousand tons of uranium, although mining was scheduled to begin in 2015, but development stopped after the decline in global uranium prices following the disaster. Japanese nuclear power plant in 2011.

The Niger government did not immediately comment on the French company’s statement, but it had announced a review of mining concessions in the country and warned that it would withdraw the Orano license if development did not begin by June 19.

Orano confirmed to Agence “France-Presse” that the preparatory work in “Imurarin” had begun recently, and she expressed her regret for the decision of the Nigerian authorities, noting that they had resumed activities at the site in accordance with the government’s wishes.

The company indicated that it is ready to keep all channels of communication open with the Nigerian authorities regarding this issue, while reserving the right to appeal the decision to withdraw the license before national or international courts.

It is noteworthy that Niger constituted about a quarter of the natural uranium supply to European nuclear power plants in 2022, according to Euratom data, but since taking power last July, the military junta pledged to review foreign mining concessions, and the council issued orders to withdraw French forces stationed in the country, and they increased their criticism of the force. Former colonial power, while Niger sought to become increasingly close to Russia and Iran.

In recent years, companies from China, Australia, the United States, Britain, Italy, Canada, Russia and India have obtained licenses to mine uranium in Niger, with 31 exploration permits and 11 mining licenses recorded in 2022.

The Chinese company “Azelec” increasingly controls uranium mines in the north of the country, which were previously suspended due to poor profitability.

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