“Everyday attacks” sometimes the victims are UN-soldiers
United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali
…but not only German troops but basically all of NATO help to ensure the Uranium supplies for French and other European Nuclear Power reactors keeps flowing.
- France discovered one of the world’s largest uranium deposits in the 1960s
- Today Niger has 2 uranium mines = 7.5% of the world’s output
- 4th largest producer of uranium
- 2 mining towns: Arlit and Arkokan, are 900km north-east of the capital Niamey
- Mines are operated by Areva – a French company that owns 70%
- Local Tuareg groups feel they have not benefitted from the industry
- Uranium from Niger provides 50% of France’s energy supply
Mali is directly bordering with: Niger
Niger’s 421,000t of known recoverable uranium resources as of 2011 make it the world’s fifth richest uranium country, while it was also the world’s 4th biggest uranium country with 4,667t of production in 2012.
Uranium mining operations in Niger are mostly concentrated around the twin mining towns of Arlit and Akokan, while most of the country’s uranium output is from the Société des Mines de l’Air (SOMAIR) and Compagnie Miniere d’Akouta (COMINAK) joint venture mining operations led by Areva.
The Societe des Mines d’Azelik (SOMINA), majorly owned by China Nuclear International Uranium Corporation (SinoU), started production from the Azelik/Teguidda uranium deposit located 160km south-west of Arlit at the end of 2010.
SOMAIR’s Arlit mine produced 3,065t of uranium in 2012 becoming the world’s fourth biggest uranium producing mine.
Africa’s biggest known uranium deposit Imouraren, located 80km south of Arlit which has been developed by a majority-owned Areva subsidiary since 2009, will be a major uranium mining operation in Niger when it commences production in 2015. (src: mining-technology.com)
Uranium reserves are reserves of recoverable uranium, regardless of isotope, based on a set market price. The list given here is based on Uranium 2016: Resources, Production and Demand, a joint report by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
|Country||Reserves as of 2015||Historical Production to 2014|
|Central African Republic||32,000||0|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||2,700||25,600|
|Soviet Union||1,800,000 (approximation)||102,886 (approximation)|
Educational Videos about this topic: “Uranium? Is it a country?”
Even worse: France could get into Conflict with China over Uranium reserves of Africa:
2013: Mali-Niger-Uranium: A Chinese Puzzle
As French fighter-jets pound rebel targets in the northern reaches of Mali, a detachment of French special forces have been quietly dispatched to neighboring Niger.
Now, Niger is supposedly one of the ten poorest countries on the planet, with most people living on less than $1.00 per day. On the other hand, it also has huge deposits of uranium, and the largest uranium miner is Areva, a sprawling French energy conglomerate, in which the French government has a major interest. Areva’s Arlit mine is in a desolate northern region of Niger and the mission of the Special Forces is to protect it.
After all, France depends on nuclear reactors to provide 80 percent of the country’s electrical power.
Thus, deployment of the special forces is not at all surprising, particularly in light of the spectacular attack by jihadists on the huge Amenas plant in eastern Algeria. Indeed, a group linked to Al Qaeda kidnapped seven Areva employees in 2010, and still holds four of them hostage.
Which raises the cynical question: to what degree was France’s dramatic intervention in Mali driven by France’s own economic interests?
Which also brings us to the Chinese, and the quandary they face.
As I’ve previously blogged, the Chinese have huge interests of their own in the region — including their $300 million SOMINA uranium mine at the desert outpost of Azalik in northern Niger.
Generally, pursuing business, the Chinese attempt to work with whatever government is in power. They don’t attempt to push any particular political line, or raise questions about potentially embarrassing issues like human rights.
But the Chinese might have as good a reason as the French to be nervous about their operations in Niger. In recent years, the Chinese operators of the SOMINA mine have been the target of protests from Tuareg tribesmen in the region, who were hired to work there.
The Tuaregs claimed to have been exploited by their Chinese bosses, poorly paid, poorly housed, particularly when compared to Chinese workers there.
Perhaps that situation was cleaned up, but one would think that, in light of current events, the Chinese would be taking precautions of their own in Niger.
But who are they going to get to protect them? Certainly not their own special forces. One can just imagine the U.S. or French reaction. Do they train and arm their own Nigerian security guards?
What about the project currently in the works of several African countries contributing to a joint military force, perhaps under UN auspices, to take over from France in Mali?
You’d think the Chinese would be cheering the idea.
But, they don’t seem to be — at least not yet. When the African governments asked for close to a billion dollars to fund that joint African deployment, the major donor countries, including the U.S. and Japan, pledged less than half that amount.
And China? A grand total of $1 million!
You figure it out.
Ironically, the Nigerian government, which has been claiming that their country has not profited from its huge mineral wealth, has been pushing France to renegotiate its uranium deal with Niger.
Otherwise, their president Mohamadou Issoufou recently threatened, they might seek other partners to exploit that uranium.
Like China?, he was asked. “There is no reason to exclude other countries that wish to cooperate with us,” he replied.
EUTM Mali (European Union Training Mission in Mali) is a European Union multinational military training mission headquartered in Bamako, Mali.
21 EU members (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom) and 4 non-EU countries (not members of the EU: Georgia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania) are engaged in this mission and have sent soldiers to the Republic of Mali.
|Commanded by||Brigadier general Enrique Millán Martínez Spain|
|Date||17th January 2013-present|
GOD DAMN IT! ANYTHING ELSE IS NOT SUSTAINABLE, UNSUSTAINABLE MEANS IT WILL END! DO YOU WANT TO END?