Russia Said to Seek Takeover of France’s Uranium Assets in Niger (Bloomberg News – June 3, 2024)

(Bloomberg) — Russia is seeking to take over uranium assets in Niger held by a state-controlled French company, according to people informed about the matter, in a further challenge to Western interests in Africa.

Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear company, has had contacts with Niger’s military-led authorities about acquiring assets held by France’s Orano SA, according to a person in Moscow familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. A western diplomat based in the region said talks were likely centered around mining permits. Niger accounted for about 4% of global uranium mine production in 2022, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Following a coup last July that ousted the west African nation’s Western-allied leader, Niger is the latest in a string of African countries, almost all military ruled, that have forged closer security ties with Russia. That’s opened the way for Moscow to seek access to mining interests as it tries to revive its Soviet-era presence in Africa, in particular by exploiting widespread resentment of France’s decades-old influence in its former colonies.

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