SPECIAL REPORT-Areva and Niger's uranium fight

Wed Feb 5, 2014 1:59am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

* Areva and Niger at odds over uranium money

* Documents seen by Reuters reveal tax concessions for French group

* Officials and NGOs blame corruption for sustained poverty

* Talks on new deal have stalled

By Daniel Flynn and Geert De Clercq

ARLIT, Niger/PARIS, Feb 5 (Reuters) - When France began mining uranium ore in the desert of northern Niger in the early 1970s, Arlit was a cluster of miners' huts stranded between the sun-blasted rocks of the Air mountains and the sands of the Sahara.

The 1973 OPEC oil embargo changed that. France embraced nuclear power to free itself from reliance on foreign oil and overnight this remote corner of Africa became crucial to its national interests.

Arlit has grown into a sprawling settlement of 117,000 people, while France now depends on nuclear power for three-quarters of its electricity, making it more reliant on uranium than any country on earth.

Niger has become the world's fourth-largest producer of the ore after Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia.   Continued...