Nigerien Mineral Reserves

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Uranium

Niger's uranium reserves are situated within the Tim Mersoi Basin, an area covering around 114,000 square kilometres in north-west Niger.[1] At least 13 individual uranium deposits are known, all hosted within sandstone sediments. The Tim Mersoi deposits have attractive uranium grades typically grading 0.3 to 0.6%.[2] While this is a relatively low grade of uranium deposit, it is still economically viable since such sandstone-hosted uranium deposits are able to be processed through in-situ leaching - a low-cost extraction technique.[3]

Niger produced 4,000 tonnes of uranium in 2011,[4] the World Nuclear Association estimated that this makes Niger the world's third to fifth-ranking producer.[5]

As of 2009, a uranium reserve in Imouraren is being developed by French company AREVA.[5] The mining project in Niger will likely start production in 2014 after delays caused by kidnappings of foreign workers in the country's north, according to Niger's mines minister Omar Hamidou Tchiana in February 2012.[4] Reuters reported that the mine will boost Niger's uranium output by 5,000 tonnes per year (it produced 4,000 tonnes in 2011) and make it the world's second-largest exporter of the nuclear fuel. The deposit covers an area of 20 square kilometres and contains 146,000 tonnes of measured and indicated uranium resources.[4]

Gold

The gold reserves at Samira Hill Mine are the only reserves under industrial operation in Niger.[6] These reserves are situated in western Niger, around 90 kilometres (km) west of the capital Niamey. As of December 2010, measured mineral resources were estimated to be 8 million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 1.54 grams per tonne (g/t) gold, and indicated mineral resources were estimated to be 20.9 million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 1.49 g/t gold.[6] In 2010 SEMAFO, the current operator of the Samira Hill Mine, announced the discovery of two new gold zones within the Samira Hill Mine: the Boulon Jounga North and the Libdorado Northwest zones. According to the company, both zones appear to have high-grade ores.[7]

References

  1. "Niger: General Description of Agelal and Asekra Projects" Homeland Uranium Inc., retrieved 29 March 2012.
  2. "Tim Mersoi Applications, Niger" Aura Energy, retrieved 29 March 2012.
  3. "What's that uranium worth?" Gold Eagle Editorials, retrieved 02 April 2012.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Niger says Imouraren uranium mine on track for 2014" Reuters, retrieved 28 March 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Uranium in Niger" World Nuclear Association, retrieved 28 March 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Minerals in Mali and Niger - Advance Release" US Geological Survey, retrieved 29 March 2012.
  7. "Press Release 08/03/2010" SEMAFO, retrieved 29 March 2012.