Direction de la Géologie
Ministère des Mines et de l'Energie
B.P. 11700, Niamey
Phone:  +227-73 4582
Fax: +227-73 2759

Niger Mining Code
Niger Petroleum Code

CIA Factbook
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The contribution of mining to total exports in 2010 amounted to 19.4%

Niger Mining News

Source: CIA Factbook



Precambrian rocks underlie large parts of Niger, but are mostly concealed by extensive Cenozoic continental deposits and sand dunes. Paleoproterozoic rocks, dominantly gneiss and migmatites, are exposed west of Niamey as a continuation of the belt of Birrimian rocks from Burkina Faso, and as ubiquitous granites, metamorphics and volcanics in the Air Massif in the north of the country. Neoproterozoic-Palaeozoic rocks crop out south of Niamey along the border with Benin and Burkina Faso in a continuation of the Volta Basin. Younger Palaeozoic marine sediments occupy parts of northeastern Niger and the Agadez basin west of the Air Massif and Cretaceous marine and epicontinental sediments of the Iullemidden Basin occur in central Niger. Volcanic activity evidenced by lavas, tuffs and ash deposition is recorded intermittently from the Devonian, and particularly well exposed in the Air Massif. Spectacular anorogenic ring-complexes of predominantly Palaeozoic age are also exposed in the Air Massif area of the Hogga Mountains and include anorthosites.


Niger has resources of uranium, coal, iron ore, tin, phosphates, gold, molybdenum, gypsum, silver, salt and petroleum. Amongst the various mineral commodities produced uranium is by far the most important accounting for an estimated 72% of export revenues. In 2008 Niger was ranked the sixth largest producer of uranium in the world (6.8%). With a decrease in uranium production of 5.1% and a substantial increase in output from Namibia, the country slipped from being the leading producer in Africa to second place although still accounting for 37.35% of total output. Foreign direct investment in the sector from 2008 to 2012 was projected to be US$1.4 billion. The rocks hosting the uranium mineralization are commonly arenites of the Carboniferous Guezouman and Tarat Formations. Some beds within the Tchirozerine Formation of Jurassic age and the Irhazer Formation of Cretaceous age also contain uranium. The depositional environment of these formations was fluvial to deltaic, and apparently the uranium was leached from the basement units. Tectonic, lithological and geochemical features are important in trapping the mineralization, which is often of roll-front type, either reduced consisting of pitchblende and coffinite (Akouta, Arlit, Afasto, Madaouela) or oxidized minerals (Imouraren).
Birimian rocks, including three greenstone belts occur in the Liptako region in the western part of the country near the borders with Burkino Faso and Mali. Greenstone belts include the Gorouol/Kourki belt in the northwest of the Liptako area, the Sirba Belt west of Niamey, and the Tera Gassa Belt between the Gorouol and the Sirba Belt. Niger became a significant gold producer with the opening of the Samira Hill Gold Mine (reserves of 19.2 tonnes gold) in Tera Department in 2004. From its peak of nearly 5 tonnes in 2005 output has more than halved in 2008. With a decrease in production from 2007 of 32.5% Niger has slipped from the 9th largest to the 12th largest gold producer in Africa (0.5% of the total). Niger is the fifth largest coal producer in Africa and the largest north of the Equator, the most important deposit is located at Anou-Araren. The coal is used for an electricity generation plant that supplies the uranium mines. Coal production increased by 6.8 per cent in 2008. Additional coal deposits occur to the south and west that are of a higher quality and may be exploitable. Gypsum production increased by 87.7% in 2008 which raised Niger from 12th to the 10th largest producer in Africa. 

Oil & Gas

Niger has oil potential but as yet does not produce petroleum. The Agadem block in the Termit-Ténéré Rift Basin with estimated reserves of 44.2 Mt was being developed to produce 20,000 barrels per day by 2012.
Miners Assess New Risk After Niger Attack
by Anne Look, 31 May 2013

One of the targets of a two-pronged terrorist attack in northern Niger on May 23 was a French-owned uranium mine. The attack damaged the facility, killed one staff member and wounded 14. One of the two al-Qaida-linked militant groups that carried out the attack in Niger also hit a European-operated natural gas plant in Algeria in mid-January, killing at least 37 hostages. There is concern that militants will continue to target high-value economic targets in the region.
Uranium is the major strategic economic interest for France in the Sahel.
France is the world's most nuclear-dependent country. Its 58 nuclear reactors produce 75 percent of the country's electricity, and about a quarter of the uranium running those plants comes from Niger, where France has been mining since 1969.
On May 23, two suicide bombers got into the French-owned Somair mine in Arlit, Niger, and exploded their vehicle. The blast damaged the grinding units, and it may take two to nine months to get the facility up and running again, at a potential loss of as much as $35 million per month.

Impact on France's Nuclear Giant

The manager of Africa risk analysis firm Strategico, Lydie Boka, says the attack on Arlit as well as the increased security risk perception could have serious consequences for both Niger and French nuclear giant, Areva, which runs the Somair mine. She says security problems could further push back the opening of an even larger Areva mine in Niger, in Imouraren, that was supposed to open at the end of 2012 but has already been delayed to 2015. She says this would mean a loss of a significant number of jobs and revenue for Niger, as well as more big losses for Areva.
Security at the Somair mine had been reinforced twice -- once after seven workers, four of them French citizens, were kidnapped from the facility by al-Qaida in the
Islamic Maghreb in 2010 and then again this year, at the start of the French-led military intervention against AQIM and other Islamist militants in northern Mali.

Boka says it is worrying that there was already increased security in place at Somair, including French special forces. She says that raises the question of complicity from inside the facility. She says companies will have to put in place more safeguards and that will be expensive, but if the investment is worth it, investors will stay because the greater the risk, the greater the return


Click HERE for an overview


Birimian rocks, including three greenstone belts occur in the Liptako region in the western part of the country near the borders with Burkino Faso and Mali. Greenstone belts include the Gorouol/Kourki belt in the northwest of the Liptako area, the Sirba Belt west of Niamey, and the Tera Gassa Belt between the Gorouol and the Sirba greenstone belts.
  • Semafo Inc's Samira Hill Mine is located on the 50-kilometer gold belt commonly referred to as the Samira Horizon. It is approximately 90 kilometers west of Niamey, the capital of Niger. At the end of 2012, the re-assessment of future cash flows to be generated by the mine led to a $60 million impairment charge. This exercise also demonstrated this non-core property's acute sensitivity to fluctuations in economic and technical parameters. Samira Hill is a non-core asset and the Corporation decided to review strategic alternatives for this project. They announced a $10 million reduction in capital expenditures in March 2013 followed by an additional $6 million reduction in capital expenditures. For the remaining nine months of 2013, capital expenditures are forecasted at $11 million. In addition, a decision has been made to wind down operations to an eventual care and maintenance status at Samira Hill in 2013. Semafo has agreed to sell its 80% interest in the Samira Hill gold mine to Middle Island Resources of West Perth, Australia. The remaining 20% of the mine belongs to the government of Niger. The purchase price includes a cash payment of US$1.25 million and a net smelter return of 1.2% on Middle Island's portion of the output. The NSR is payable only if the price of gold is above US$1.450/oz and is capped at US$12 million. The sale is subject to the usual conditions. It is also dependent on Middle Island raising A$5 million equity capital, taking over Semafo's exploration permits, and transferring certain mining equipment to Semafo.
  • Etruscan Resources (TSX:EET, 40%) and Semafo (40%) operate the Samira Hill Gold Mine; the first commercial open pit gold mine in Niger. The pre-production mineable reserves from the Samira Hill and Libiri pits are estimated to total 10,08 million t grading 2,2 g/t Au from which 618 000 oz will be recovered over a 6,3 year mine life. Etruscan also investigated the Koma Bangou deposit which was originally discovered by ONAREM (the state owned mining company) in 1985. Etruscan subsequently joined up with ONAREM and carried out feasibility studies on the property, defining a reserve of 315 000 oz of gold.
  • St Jude Resources (bought by Golden Star Resources Ltd) explored the Deba and Tialkam areas.
Abandoned artisanal gold mining site at Tialkam
Photo: Wolfgang Hampel
  • GeoAfrica Gold Corporation (Australian) had prospecting permits close to the Algerian border near the Air Massif.

Oil and Natural Gas

  • In Petronas’ and ExxonMobil’s Agadem Block, the companies discovered an estimated 350 million barrels of oil equivalent. Oil exploration has been carried out for more than 20 years in Niger's Djado region on the border with Libya, but no commercial finds have been discovered.


Click HERE for an overview (MBendi)

Niger has been mining uranium since 1971 and the past production from 2 operating mines exceeded 100,000 tonnes of uranium (approximately 2,600,000 lbs) of U3O8 to the end of 2006. With an output of over 3,093 t U in 2005, Niger was the world's 6th ranked uranium producer contributing 7,75% of the total world production.

Arlit uranium mine


Le Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (C.E.A.), through its exploratory arm le Groupement Afrique Madagascar (G.A.M.) has been actively engaged in uranium exploration in Niger since 1956. Their interest became concentrated in and around Arlit in1961. Systematic drilling during a 5-6 year period lead them to the Arlette deposit (Arlette is the mine, Arlitrlitis the town). In 1968 a mining concession was awarded to the C.E.A. for the Arlette deposit and at the same time La Société des Mines de l’Air (Somair) was formed for exploitation of the deposit. A second joint venture effort by the C.E.A. resulted in the Akokan (Akouta) project 10 km south of Arlit. La Compagnie Minière d’Akouta was formed for exploitation of the Akouta deposit. Within the Agadez basin region other joint venture agreements were concluded between:

• C.E.A., Niger, and Continental Oil Company for the Imouraren project. A permit area of 3500 km², south of the Arlit and Akokan area, included the Imouraren deposit. The joint venture agreement was signed in April 1974 and drilling began in Sept 1974.

• Japanese Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation and Niger formed the TECHILI project. A permit area of some 2700 km², north of the Imouraren deposit, included the Madaouela deposit. The joint venture agreement was signed in November 1988. Exploration was carried out between 1990 and 1992.

• C.E.A., Overseas Uranium Development Co. Ltd. and Niger formed the AFASTO W project. A permit area of some 546.5 km², West of the Techili area, included the EBBA deposit. The joint venture agreement was signed in September 1975. Exploration was carried out up to 1980 and a preliminary feasibility study was completed in 1992.


The rocks hosting the uranium mineralization are commonly arenites of the Guezouman and Tarat Formations of Carboniferous age. Some beds within the Tchirozerine Formation of Jurassic age and the Irhazer Formation of Cretaceous age also contain uranium. The depositional environment of these formations was fluvial to deltaic. Apparently the uranium was leached from the basement. Tectonic, lithological and geochemical features are important in trapping the mineralization, which is often of roll front type, either reduced consisting of pitchblende and coffinite (Akouta, Arlit, Afasto, Madaouela) or oxidized minerals (Imouraren).
  • Compagnie Minière d'Akouta (COMINAK), owned by the Niger government with French, Japanese and Spanish interests and operated by Areva NC (COGEMA), mined approximately 2 000 t U3O8 in 2006.
  • Societe des Mines et de l'Air (SOMAIR), operated by Areva NC (COGEMA), mined approximately 1 000 t U3O8 in 2006.
  • Four uranium projects (Imouraren, Afasto W, Techili and Abkorum), which are in the same area as the two operating mines, are in an advanced stage of evaluation. They are potential targets for new exploration, in keeping with COGEMA’s strategy of revisiting old targets. Areva and China National Nuclear could develop uranium deposits in Niger which would double production of the metal from the African continent. Areva is considering producing 4,000 tonnes of uranium a year starting from 2011 from the deposit in Imouraren. The Areva and China National Nuclear projects would help boost uranium production capacity to 10,000 tonnes/year within five years from the present 4,500 tonnes.
  • Orezone Resources Inc. (OZN:TSX, AMEX) through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Niger Resources Inc., has been granted two uranium exploration permits by the Government of the Republic of Niger. The two permits totaling 980km² are located adjacent to Areva’s exploration permits (previously Cogema) and within 40km of its SOMAÏR and COMINAK uranium mines which have been in production since the early seventies. Niger is the world’s fourth largest Uranium producer.
    The permits, named ZELINE 1 and ZELINE 4 are within the Tim Mersoï sedimentary basin.
  • In a July 2006 joint-venture, the Nigerien government granted SinoU the rights to develop a uranium mine complex in Azelik in the Agadez region of Niger. The joint-venture, known as Niger Azelik Mining Industry, is co-owned by SinoU (37.2%), the Nigerien Government (33%), ZXJOY Invest (24.8%), Korea Resources (4%), and Trendfield Energy and Resources (1%). In addition to the uranium mine, the complex will include two coal-fired power plants and a hydrometallurgy plant. On April 24, 2009, the Nigerien government announced that the Exim Bank of China had granted them a preferential loan of 650 million CNY for the development of the mine. The loan is repayable in 15 years with a 5 year grace period and an interest rate of 2 percent. Trial operation of the mine began on December 10, 2010, with the first drum of yellowcake uranium being produced on December 30..
  • Homeland Energy Corporation through its subsidiary, Uranium International Limited, acquired a 100% interest in two exploration licenses in the Republic of Niger. The Agelal license is adjacent to that which hosts the Arlit and Akouta deposits, and represents an area formerly held by Cogema. Over 36 holes were drilled by Cogema within the boundaries of the current Agelal license, several of which intersected uranium mineralization at depths of between 600-1,000 metres below surface. The Aserka license is located to the immediate southwest, somewhat deeper in the basin, due north of the Teguida uranium deposit and roughly 35 km west of the Imouraren deposit. Niger has also granted eight uranium prospecting concessions to Uranium International Ltd in the northeastern area around Agadez.
  • The government granted two more uranium research concessions in the Agadez region on the same basis to Trendfield Holdings SA. TRENDFIELD HOLDINGS SA also acquired the permits known as TAGAZA II and TAGAZA IV adjoining the existing permit of Teguidda containing proven reserves; these permits represent an area of 500 square km each and are located in the North of In Gall, in the Department of Tchirozérine, Province of Agadez where twelve other permits were previously awarded to Chinese and Canadian companies. Artemis Resources Ltd finalised a formal joint-venture agreement (JV) with Trendfield Holdings in November, 2007, for the acquisition of an initial 49% stake in the two uranium projects in Niger. The agreement also gives Artemis the ability to acquire up to 51% in the JV project on which exploration work has already begun. The company has started a review of the geological data and approved an exploration programme for TAG 2 and 4 JV. The JV tenements are located in the Tim Mersoi Basin.
  • Bayswater Uranium Corporation (Canadian) applied for approximately 2 million acres of concessions in Niger. Bayswater subsequently entered into agreements for uranium concessions totaling over 7800 sq. km. All of the land holdings fall between 60 and 400 km from the Arlit and Akouta uranium mines which together have produced over 100,000 tonnes of U308 to date. The concessions fall into three distinct packages around the Arlit-Akouta area. The Tikikitene and Eghizi concessions are side by side, lying from 60 to 130 km to the northwest, The Anwala concession lies 240 km to the southwest, and the Emi Lulu concession sits approximately 400 km northeast.
  • Northwestern Mineral Ventures Inc (Canadian) is exploring their 100%-owned In Gall and Irhazer uranium concessions in Niger. Uranium anomalies have been identified during Northwestern's recently completed airborne survey. Results have revealed four radioactive structural domes that are geologically similar to others that have been proven to host uranium mineralization in Niger.
  • North Atlantic Resources Ltd (Canadian) acquired the Abelajouad uranium exploration permit in 2006 and has 4 pending uranium exploration permit applications in Niger. The Company anticipates that it will begin exploration work on its uranium exploration projects in Niger in the first quarter of 2007. Orezone Resources Inc and North Atlantic Resources Ltd announced in February, 2008, the formation of a new uranium exploration company that has a combined land holding of 4,000 km2 in the heart of Niger's uranium production area in West Africa. Orezone and North Atlantic Resources Ltd will each hold a 50% interest in the new entity to be named Brighton Energy Limited.
    Under the terms of the amalgamation, Orezone will transfer to Brighton its wholly-owned subsidiary Niger Resources Inc. which holds two permits (Zeline 1 and Zeline 4) located adjacent to Areva's exploration permits and within 40 km of its SOMAIR and COMINAK uranium mines which have been in production since the early seventies. North Atlantic will transfer to Brighton its wholly-owned subsidiary Selier Energy Niger SARL which holds three permits (Abelajouad and Assaouas 1 and Assaouas 2) located adjacent to and south of the Areva mining and exploration permits and proximal to the Arlit fault, which is the dominant control structure for uranium deposition.
  • Semafo Inc (Canadian, TSX:SMF.TO; SEMFF.PK, and operating the Kineiro gold mine in Guinea and Samira Hill gold mine in Niger) has been granted five uranium exploration permits by the Ministry of Mines. The permits, covering 2,375 square kilometres, are located in the geological setting known as the Tim Mersoï sedimentary basin, east of the Arlit fault.
  • Global Uranium Corporation, a private Ontario corporation, is exploring the Tin-Negoran 1, 2, 3 and 4 concessions, totaling approximately 2000 km2. The concessions are located on the main uranium bearing trend that hosts numerous uranium deposits in central Niger, west of the Air mountains, near the town of Agadez. Previous work on one of the properties by a Japanese company identified a uranium resource. Global Uranium had been granted two new uranium concessions in Niger, bringing the total number of concessions in Niger held by the firm to six, the company said on 3 October, 2007.
  • UraMin Inc (now Areva) has been awarded four exploration areas in the Arlit section of the Agadez region, more than 1,200 km (750 miles) north of the capital Niamey. Under Niger's mining code, if uranium deposits are discovered, the state will take a 40 percent stake in the projects, 10 percent for free, while it will pay for the remaining 30 percent.
  • Niger Uranium Ltd said in December, 2007, it planned to start an aggressive exploration programme and has identified five priority targets for drilling.
    The 50-50 joint venture company between UraMin Inc and Northwestern Mineral Ventures Inc said first drilling is expected to be completed by February. 2008.
  • Niger Mining Services SARL (NMS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Signet Mining Services Ltd, was established in June 2007. NMS holds five uranium concessions in Niger, covering approximately 2 500 square km. Of the five concessions, two are double concessions. All three blocks are situated within the Tim Mersoï Basin, between the towns of Agadez and Arlit.

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