Niger revokes French nuclear group’s licence at major uranium mine (Al Jazeera – June 21, 2024)

Removal of Orano licence highlights tensions with France, with Russia said to be eyeing the major site.

Niger’s military government has revoked the operating licence of French nuclear fuel producer Orano at one of the world’s biggest uranium mines, as it continues to cut ties with former colonial power France.

State-owned Orano said on Thursday that it had been ordered out of the Imouraren mine in northern Niger which sits on an estimated 200,000 tonnes of the metal, used for nuclear power and weapons.

Reporting from Abuja, Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris said the Nigerien Ministry of Mining had warned it would revoke Orano’s licence if development of the mine had not started by June 19.

Orano insisted in a statement on Thursday that it had recently resumed “activities” at the site, reopening “infrastructures” to accommodate “construction teams”, its work in line with the wishes of the government, which came to power in a coup in July last year.

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