Areva SA, the world’s second-biggest uranium mining company, will start production at the troubled Imouraren mine in Niger by the second quarter of 2015, a company official said.
Areva has discussed security issues for workers at the operation in the northeast of the country, Olivier Wantz, senior executive vice president for mining business, told reporters today in the capital, Niamey. “We will start production at Imouraren mine in mid-2015,” he said.
Production at the largest uranium reserve after Olympic Dam in Australia was originally due to start in 2012 but has been postponed several times due to security problems, including the September 2010 kidnapping of employees by suspected members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Niger will get 23 billion CFA francs ($45.7 million) from Areva as “compensation” for the delay in operations, Hassoumi Massaoudou, the chief of staff in Niger’s presidency, said in January.
The mine will double production in Niger and make the country the world’s biggest uranium supplier after Kazakhstan, according to the company’s website.