For the past two years negotiations have been going on between nuclear energy company Areva and the Niger government and to date they have once again missed the deadline to reach an agreement over the extraction contracts. The mining minister if Niger has insisted that the talks will now continue without a deadline as Areva’s 10-year uranium mining contract expired at the end of 2013.
The Niger government wishes to increase Areva’s royalty payments to between 12% and 15%. Although not public, it is believed that Areva pays about 5.5% of its revenues in royalties.
Areva doesn’t have much support either, even its own government believes that Niger’s demands are legitimate. Niger accounts for 40% of Areva’s uranium production and it is estimated than over 90% of Niger’s population has no access to basic electricity. Niger remains one of the poorest countries on the planet and it is believed that they should be taking advantage of the revenue from this Areva extraction.
It is believed that in 2013, an estimate of 90% of Areva’s direct revenue from their mines went to the state of Niger. However, the happenings between Areva and the Niger government are not public knowledge. It is believed that Areva mine pays NO export duties and NO taxes in materials or equipments used in their mining operations.
This situation, however, is not likely to just die down as Nigerians have started to gather on a weekly basis in order to gain a better deal for Niger.
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