IB Geography: Extreme Environments: Hot, Arid Environment Resource Development - Uranium Mining in Niger

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  • 1. Niger’s Uranium Industry
  • 2. IB Geography Syllabus Focus - Extreme EnvironmentsHot, arid areas:Examine the opportunities and challenges posed for resource development(mineral extraction and any associated settlement and communications).
  • 3. Location
  • 4. Opportunities
  • 5. Uranium mining is the largest Niger industrial employment provider.
  • 6. Uranium mining is the largest Niger industrial employment provider.In 2006, Niger was the world’s fourth ranked producer of uranium.
  • 7. Uranium mining is the largest Niger industrial employment provider.In 2006, Niger was the world’s fourth ranked producer of uranium.Exports of minerals [cement, coal, gold, gypsum, limestone, salt, silver, tin,and uranium] consistently account for 40% of exports and about 4.5% of theGDP.
  • 8. Uranium mining is the largest Niger industrial employment provider.In 2006, Niger was the world’s fourth ranked producer of uranium.Exports of minerals [cement, coal, gold, gypsum, limestone, salt, silver, tin,and uranium] consistently account for 40% of exports and about 4.5% of theGDP.In 2006 3434 tonnes of uranium were extracted from the Arlit mines andexported to France via truck to the seaport at Cotonou, Bénin.
  • 9. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a renewed interest in thegeneration of nuclear energy had led to increased demand for uranium,encouraged investment expansions at existing uranium mines, and promotedexploration.
  • 10. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a renewed interest in thegeneration of nuclear energy had led to increased demand for uranium,encouraged investment expansions at existing uranium mines, and promotedexploration.Foreign direct investment in the sector from 2008 to 2012 was projected to be$1.4 billion, which would double the country’s uranium production capacity.
  • 11. Challenges
  • 12. During the early stages of mine setup, it was necessary to build everythingfrom scratch in this desert area belonging to a region with no industrialtradition.
  • 13. During the early stages of mine setup, it was necessary to build everythingfrom scratch in this desert area belonging to a region with no industrialtradition.The electricity needs of the mine sites are covered by the production of apower plant located on a coal mine about 40 km to the North of the Agadezcity. A 200 km transmission line brings the power to the mines.
  • 14. During the early stages of mine setup, it was necessary to build everythingfrom scratch in this desert area belonging to a region with no industrialtradition.The electricity needs of the mine sites are covered by the production of apower plant located on a coal mine about 40 km to the North of the Agadezcity. A 200 km transmission line brings the power to the mines.Another important infrastructure specially built for servicing the mining sites isthe 800 km long asphalted road from Tahoua to Arlit via Agadez, theconstruction of which was 100% financed by the two mining companies.
  • 15. Also constructed on site were an airstrip and various lodging facilities forvisitors, subcontractors and the staff.
  • 16. Also constructed on site were an airstrip and various lodging facilities forvisitors, subcontractors and the staff.Special attention has been paid to the problems raised by the evolution ofmine sites population. Current staff levels for both companies are nowstabilized at about 1700 direct employees. It is estimated that, all in all, theirfamilies total about 20 000 persons, including retired employees, most ofthem still living in the area. Initially, the Arlit City was built to accommodate5000 people. The Akokan city was established a few years later on a similarbasis. Today the two cities have more than 100 000 people, more than thoserelated only to uranium mining and dedicated ancillary services.
  • 17. By AREVA’s calculation the company has pumped 270 million cubic metres ofgroundwater during the past 40 years from its two mines in Arlit, of which 35percent has been for mining activities and the rest for the town’s use.
  • 18. By AREVA’s calculation the company has pumped 270 million cubic metres ofgroundwater during the past 40 years from its two mines in Arlit, of which 35percent has been for mining activities and the rest for the town’s use.
  • 19. By AREVA’s calculation the company has pumped 270 million cubic metres ofgroundwater during the past 40 years from its two mines in Arlit, of which 35percent has been for mining activities and the rest for the town’s use.Hydrologists estimate that rain-fed groundwater sources – similar to theaquifer AREVA is tapping 150m beneath the desert – can take some 200years to replenish.
  • 20. By AREVA’s calculation the company has pumped 270 million cubic metres ofgroundwater during the past 40 years from its two mines in Arlit, of which 35percent has been for mining activities and the rest for the town’s use.Hydrologists estimate that rain-fed groundwater sources – similar to theaquifer AREVA is tapping 150m beneath the desert – can take some 200years to replenish.
  • 21. By AREVA’s calculation the company has pumped 270 million cubic metres ofgroundwater during the past 40 years from its two mines in Arlit, of which 35percent has been for mining activities and the rest for the town’s use.Hydrologists estimate that rain-fed groundwater sources – similar to theaquifer AREVA is tapping 150m beneath the desert – can take some 200years to replenish.Uranium extraction requires water to clean the mining site, treat the mineraland cover workers’ and their families’ water needs, according to AREVA.
  • 22. By AREVA’s calculation the company has pumped 270 million cubic metres ofgroundwater during the past 40 years from its two mines in Arlit, of which 35percent has been for mining activities and the rest for the town’s use.Hydrologists estimate that rain-fed groundwater sources – similar to theaquifer AREVA is tapping 150m beneath the desert – can take some 200years to replenish.Uranium extraction requires water to clean the mining site, treat the mineraland cover workers’ and their families’ water needs, according to AREVA.
  • 23. By AREVA’s calculation the company has pumped 270 million cubic metres ofgroundwater during the past 40 years from its two mines in Arlit, of which 35percent has been for mining activities and the rest for the town’s use.Hydrologists estimate that rain-fed groundwater sources – similar to theaquifer AREVA is tapping 150m beneath the desert – can take some 200years to replenish.Uranium extraction requires water to clean the mining site, treat the mineraland cover workers’ and their families’ water needs, according to AREVA.Pastoralists have also accused AREVA of depleting the region’s water.
  • 24. In response to criticism that mining has contaminated increasingly scarcedrinking water in northern Niger, AREVA published a statement in January2009 that “monthly bacterial, bi-annual radiological, and annual chemicalanalyses show the absence of [water] contamination.”
  • 25. In response to criticism that mining has contaminated increasingly scarcedrinking water in northern Niger, AREVA published a statement in January2009 that “monthly bacterial, bi-annual radiological, and annual chemicalanalyses show the absence of [water] contamination.”But environmental studies carried in 2005 in mining communities showedwater radiation levels up to 110 times higher than WHO safe drinking waterstandards in industrial areas and 10 times higher in urban areas.
  • 26. In response to criticism that mining has contaminated increasingly scarcedrinking water in northern Niger, AREVA published a statement in January2009 that “monthly bacterial, bi-annual radiological, and annual chemicalanalyses show the absence of [water] contamination.”But environmental studies carried in 2005 in mining communities showedwater radiation levels up to 110 times higher than WHO safe drinking waterstandards in industrial areas and 10 times higher in urban areas.
  • 27. In response to criticism that mining has contaminated increasingly scarcedrinking water in northern Niger, AREVA published a statement in January2009 that “monthly bacterial, bi-annual radiological, and annual chemicalanalyses show the absence of [water] contamination.”But environmental studies carried in 2005 in mining communities showedwater radiation levels up to 110 times higher than WHO safe drinking waterstandards in industrial areas and 10 times higher in urban areas.