How Important is Niger’s Uranium For France? – by Elias Ferrer Breda (Forbes Magazine – August 16, 2023)

Since a military coup d’état took place in Niamey on July 23rd, there have been many commentaries on its strategic significance for the former colonial overlord. France sources a significant portion of its much-needed uranium from Niger, and also has a military presence in the Sahelian country. The political troubles in Niamey are undoubtedly of interest in Paris.

Soon after the military takeover, a rumor spread that Niger had banned uranium exports to France, although this has been proven false — the idea, however, may have been floated around. This allegation would also entail that Niger would have denied France its most-prized source of uranium ore. For a brief moment, let’s consider just how important is the resource for the government in the Élysée, and more broadly for the energy needs of the French.

Niger contributes around 5% towards global supply, based on 2022 data from the World Nuclear Association (WNA): it produced 2,020 tones of uranium. It has had many difficulties to grow in the sector due to high costs associated with bad infrastructure and insecurity.

The heavy hitters include Kazakhstan (43%), Canada (15%), Namibia (11%), and Australia (8%). Nonetheless, Niger’s uranium is of strategic importance to France, and it is the world’s 7th largest producer.

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