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Orano puts its uranium site in Niger into maintenance mode due to 'diminishing' stocks of chemical products

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(Kitco News) - French nuclear giant Orano said last week that given the ongoing closure of Niger's main supply corridor and diminishing stocks of chemical products, the SOMAÏR uranium site has implemented a gradual reorganization of work by bringing forward its maintenance activities.

“These measures will mitigate the impact of logistical difficulties and enable production to resume under optimum conditions as soon as the situation permits,” the company added.

Orano also noted that the COMINAK remediation project continues in line with the group's commitments and the project schedule, adding that the studies and other activities at the Imouraren project are continuing according to schedule.

With uranium mines in operation in Canada, Kazakhstan and Niger, Orano is one of the world’s leading producers of uranium. Beyond mining, Orano conducts exploration and development projects in uranium-bearing zones, while also undertaking re-development and upgrading of former mines.

In Niger, the company owns shares in two uranium mining companies, SOMAÏR and COMINAK.

SOMAÏR (Société des Mines de l’Aïr) is 63.4% owned by Orano and 36.66% owned by Sopamin (Niger). The company operates multiple fields near the city of Arlit. Extracted from an open-pit mine, the ore is treated by heap leaching or dynamic leaching.

COMINAK (Compagnie Minière d’Akouta) is 59% owned by Orano, 31% by SOPAMIN (Niger) and 10% by Enusa (Spain). Following the depletion of resources, the Board of Directors of COMINAK voted in October 2019 to stop production on March 31, 2021.

According to the World Nuclear Association, Niger produced 2,020 tonnes of uranium in 2022, or 4% of the world's total mine production.

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