Joint Ventures in Niger's Mining Industry

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A number of joint ventures participate in Niger's mining industry. All joint ventures have an element of government involvement through the mining assets company Société du Patrimoine des Mines du Niger (SOPAMIN), run by the Office National des Ressources Minieres du Niger (ONAREM).[1]



Company Share in project
AREVA[2] 34%
SOPAMIN[1] 31%
Overseas Uranium Resource Development Co. Ltd (OURD)[3] 25%
Empresa Nacional des Uranio S.A (ENUSA)[4] 10%

Compagnie Miniere d'Akouta (COMINAK) is the operator of the Akouta Uranium Mine in the region of Agadez.[1] COMINAK has been exploring the uranium deposits of north-west Niger since 1974, and began mining operations in 1978.[5] The mine produces around 2,000 tonnes of uranium per year.[1] According to AREVA, the majority shareholder of COMINAK, the Akouta mining project is the largest underground uranium mine in the world.[5] AREVA estimated in 2009 that given COMINAK's rate of production and likely future expansion projects, COMINAK should be able to continue mining in Akouta until at least 2026.[5]


Company Share in project
AREVA[6] 63.4%
SOPAMIN[1] 36.6%

Société des Mines de l'Air (SOMAIR) have been mining in Arlit since 1971.[1] In 2009 overall production was 1,808 tonnes of uranium.[1] SOMAIR specialise in open-pit uranium extraction and have facilities to process the uranium on site.[6] According to AREVA, the company's majority shareholder, SOMAIR expected the annual production of the mine to rise from the 1,808 tonnes of uranium achieved in 2009 to over 3000 tonnes in 2012.[6]


Company Share in project
China Nuclear International Uranium Corporation (subsidiary of CNNC).[7] 37.2%
SOPAMIN[1] 33%
ZXJOY Invest[8][9] 24.8%
Trendfield Holdings[10] 5%

Société des Mines d’Azelik S.A. (SOMINA) was formed in June 2007, by the state of Niger and the shareholders listed above. [11] It was granted an operating license for the Azelik uranium ore mine, located in the Agadez region of Niger in 2007. The Azelik mine produced its first batch of 'yellowcake' (sodium urinate) on 30 December 2010.[12] World Nuclear News reported in January 2011 that testing is to continue at Azelik with a view to reaching a full capacity of 700 tonnes of uranium per year, and that CNNC hoped to raise production at Azelik to 2500 t/yr by 2015 and double that by 2020.[13]


Société des Mines du Liptako

Company Share in project
SEMAFO[14] 80%
SOPAMIN[15] 20%

Société des Mines du Liptako (SML) operate the Samira Hill Gold Mine.[14] They operate as a subsidiary of SEMAFO but the government of Niger retains a 20 percent stake.[15] Gold production from the joint venture was 1,320 kilograms in 2011.[16] As of 2011, SML's operation is the only gold mine in industrial production in Niger.[16]



Société Nigérienne de Charbon d'Anou Araren (SONICHAR) was set up in 1975 to operate the Anour-Araren coal reserves in the Air Massif Mountains of northern Niger.[17] The parastatal is 69.32% government owned, with the remaining shares being accounted for by local mining companies and banks.[18][17] SONICHAR's concessions represent proven reserves of six million tonnes of coal.[19] Coal production from SONICHAR was 225,000 tonnes in 2010.[16] The joint venture is responsible for supplying electricity from coal power stations to the mining companies COMINAK and SOMAIR, as well as for the towns of Arlit, Agadez and Tchirozerine.[17]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "Uranium in Niger" World Nuclear Association, retrieved 28 March 2012.
  2. "COMINAK: Operation of an Unparalleled Mine" AREVA, retrieved 12 April 2012.
  3. "Outline of Business (Niger Project)" Overseas Uranium Resource Development Co. Ltd, retrieved 11 April 2012.
  4. "Uranium Supply" Empresa Nacional des Uranio S.A, retrieved 11 April 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "COMINAK: Operation of an Unparalleled Mine" AREVA, retrieved 11 April 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "SOMAIR: A Growing Uranium Producer" AREVA, retrieved 11 April 2012.
  7. "International Cooperation" China National Nuclear Corporation, retrieved 10 April 2012.
  8. "Organisation Record: SOMINA" Afdevinfo, retrieved 11 April 2012.
  9. "Corporate Profile" ZXJoy Invest, retrieved 11 April 2012.
  10. "Projects" Trendfield Energy and Resources, retrieved 11 April 2012.
  11. "New Uranium Mining Projects - Niger" Wise Uranium, retrieved 11 April 2012.
  12. "CNNC’s Overseas Uranium Mine Produced Its First Barrel of Product" China National Nuclear Corporation, retrieved 29 March 2012.
  13. "First uranium from Niger mine" World Nuclear News, retrieved 10 April 2012.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Contact Us: Niger" SEMAFO, retrieved 9 April 2012.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "SEMAFO makes strong case on Niger gold mine agreement" Mineweb, retrieved 9 April 2012.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Minerals in Mali and Niger - Advance Release" US Geological Survey, retrieved 29 March 2012.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 "SONICHAR Organisational Record" Afdevinfo, retrieved 11 April 2012.
  18. World Trade Organisation Niger Report: Annex 1 available here , retrieved 12 April 2012.
  19. "Niger - Energy and Power" Encyclopedia of Nations, retrieved 29 March 2012.