In the wake of Emmanuel Macron’s announcement of the recall of the French ambassador to Niamey and the withdrawal of French troops by year-end, another demand is emerging within civil society in Niamey.
The M62, advocating for the cessation of diplomatic and economic relations with France, calls on the CNSP (National Council for the Salvation of the People) to revoke the mining license for the Imouraren site, owned by the French company Orano (formerly Areva). Imouraren is a uranium deposit located in the Arlit region in the northwest of the country. According to the movement, Orano holds the mining license for Imouraren “illegally.” Its coordinator, Abdoulaye Seydou, also believes that the exploitation of Niger’s uranium does not sufficiently benefit the Nigerien people.
Almoustpha Alhacen, who chairs an environmental protection NGO in Arlit, also believes that Nigeriens should benefit more from their uranium resources and that improvements are needed in Orano’s operations. However, he doesn’t view the revocation of the mining license as the solution.
Barka Alhassane, a member of the collective of civil society organizations in the Agadez region, supports a mutually beneficial partnership and the adoption of a national policy for mining activities. He awaits the national discussions that will determine future directions.
French company Orano, present in Niger for over 50 years, obtained the mining license for the Imouraren deposit in 2009. Last May, an agreement was reached with the Ministry of Mines to relaunch the project. The group has stated that it has no further comments on these declarations.