West Africa: Macron’s Visit to Mongolia Was Focused On Ensuring France’s Uranium Supply – by Jan Van Der Made (Radio France International/All Africa.com – May 23, 2023)


Access to rare earth minerals and Russia’s war against Ukraine topped the agenda on French President Emmanuel Macron’s historic visit to Mongolia. But the joint declaration signed during the meeting also underlines France’s attempts to find an alternative uranium source for its nuclear reactors.

As it stands, France depends to a large extent on uranium sourced in West Africa. That supply chain, however, is under threat because of social and political unrest in the region. The 18-article joint declaration, which trumpets “strengthening political, economic, commercial and defence cooperation”, also notes that both countries will also cooperate in the energy sector.

Dig down into the declarion, however, and in Article 12 notes that as part of this cooperation, negotiations over investment in the “joint Zuuvch-Ovoo project” will be “accelerated” with an aim to concluding them in the autumn.

It cites, in particular, the uranium mining project run by Badrakh Energy, a company jointly run by France’s Orano Group (formerly Areva) and Mongolia’s Monatom.

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