Cominak Uranium Mines Closes in Niger
African News reported that one of the largest underground uranium mines e Akouta Mining Company Cominak, a subsidiary of Orano Cycle a French multinational, which has been active in Agadez province in northern Niger since 1978, carried out its last blast on March 25 and ceased production on March 31. The closure of the Cominak mines, where 600 employees and 700 subcontractors worked with over 200 km of galleries exploited at a depth of 250 metres, was carried out under unsatisfactory conditions for concerned NGOs.
Niger has large deposits of uranium,- the fuel for nuclear power plants which is sought after by countries who possess them. However, the sector of the nation’s main mineral resource, which represented 60% of export earnings in 2010, is now in difficulty as the mines are reportedly less profitable. This current nature of the industry is due to a collapse in uranium prices in 2007 following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.