Mali: a French War for Uranium

Google for Mali War in French, and it seems nobody in France is fooled: France is going to war in Mali for oil, gas, gold and… uranium just across the border in Niger. Have you ever heard of a war for sunshine or wind? Let’s get on with solar and wind for energy independence, including from wars for fuels.

Even Le Monde politely asks the question, Pourquoi la France intervient-elle au Mali? Why is France intervening in Mali?

matL : Quels sont les enjeux stratégiques majeurs que présente le Mali, non seulement pour la France mais pour la région entière ? matL : What are the important policy challenges posed by Mali, not only for France but for the entire region?
Les enjeux sur les ressources extractives, à savoir notamment le pétrole et le gaz sur le site de Taoudenni qui se trouve à cheval sur trois pays, Mauritanie, Mali et Algérie. Ensuite, l’uranium puisqu’il en a été découvert dans l’Adar des Iforas. Mais ces trois ressources extractives ne sont pas encore en état d’exploitation. En revanche, le Mali est le troisième producteur d’or sur le continent africain. Ce sont là les enjeux géostragégiques. Issues of extractive resources, notably including oil and gas on the site Taoudenni which straddles three countries, Mauritania, Mali and Algeria. Then, since uranium has been discovered in the Adrar des Iforas. But these three extractive resources are not yet ready to use. However, Mali is the third largest gold producer in Africa. These are the geostratigic issues.
S’il y avait implosion du Mali par la prise du pouvoir central par les groupes armés djihadistes, il y aurait nécessairement des conséquences négatives sur l’ensemble des pays de la sous-région. If there was implosion of Mali by making the central government by armed groups jihadists, there would have negative consequences for all countries in the sub-region.
Visiteur : Bonjour, le gisement d’uranium exploité par Areva se trouve au Niger à quelques centaines de kilomètres à l’est de la zone de combats. Pensez-vous qu’il existe un lien entre l’intervention et la protection éventuelle de cette source d’énergie vitale pour la France ? Caller: Hello, the uranium deposit is operated by Areva in Niger a few hundred kilometers east of the combat zone. Do you think there is a link between the intervention and the possible protection of this vital energy source for France?
En tout cas, l’hypothèse n’est pas du tout à écarter car il y aura des conséquences sur l’ensemble de la sous-région. In any case, the hypothesis is not at all ruled out because there will be an impact on the entire sub-region.

Stéphane Lhomme was more blunt in Le nouvel Observateur yesterday, Guerre au Mali : sécuriser notre approvisionnement en uranium, War in Mali: secure our provisions of uranium,

De même, qui croira qu’il s’agit de « sécuriser la région » ? En réalité, il s’agit de sécuriser l’approvisionnement des centrales nucléaires françaises en uranium : ce dernier est en effet extrait dans les mines du nord du Niger, zone désertique seulement séparée du Mali. par une ligne sur les cartes géographiques. Similarly, who believes this is about “securing the area”? Actually, it is to secure uranium for French nuclear centers: uranium extracted in the desert mines of the north of Niger, separated from Mali only by a line on the map.

Here’s a writeup in English by R. Teichman for Global Research yesterday, The War on Mali. What you Should Know: An Eldorado of Uranium, Gold, Petroleum, Strategic Minerals…

Mining Journal reported 5 January 2009, Areva to operate Niger uranium mine,

French nuclear energy group Areva said it had been awarded a licence to operate the Imouraren mine in Niger which it called the most important uranium mine in Africa and the second in the world. Areva will have a 66.65% stake and Niger 33.35%.

The mine will take an initial investment of €1.2 billion (US$1.67 billion) and will have an annual production of 5,000t for a period of 35 years. It will employ 1,400 people and start priduction in 2010.

Areva will finance two-thirds of the amount.

It will make Niger the world’s second-biggest uranium producer after Canada.

Areva says

Imouraren is thought to be one of the largest uranium deposits in the world and operations are expected to last for more than 35 years. The mine will be the largest open-pit uranium mine in western Africa and the second-largest reserve of uranium in the world, after Olympic Dam in Australia. It will establish Niger as the world’s second-ranking uranium supplier (after Kazakhstan) by doubling current production.

Only a few months ago, the government of Niger was complaining Areva wasn’t mining fast enough. This all indicates how important Areva’s Imouraren uranium mine is.

Who is Areva? According to Areva’s website:

After the first oil shock in 1973, France chose nuclear power to gain energy independence. Electricité de France (EDF) selected the pressurized water reactor (PWR) technology, with AREVA as sole supplier of the nuclear steam supply systems.

Today, the country has attained self-sufficiency in terms of energy production. The rise in capacity of the French nuclear reactor fleet is the fruit of unshaken political determination, backed by a broad consensus of public opinion. The result is a world record unequaled to this day.

France has 58 nuclear reactors currently in operation, producing nearly 80% of the country’s electricity. The French nuclear reactor fleet is composed of plants with 3 standardized generating capacities: 900MW (34 units), 1300 MW (20 units) and 1450 MW (N4, 4 units).

It’s a funny kind of self-sufficiency that requires wars for fuel….

Areva’s claim that public opinion backs nuclear power in France was true even shortly after Fukushima. But it is not so true any longer. France’s English-language newspaper Connexion reported 6 June 2011, French want to abandon nuclear,

The Ifop poll of 1,005 adults commissioned by the Journal du Dimanche found 77% supported a gradual shut-down of France’s nuclear power plants within 30 years. A fifth of those in favour said it should happen sooner.

Current French president François Hollande was a candidate at the time, and the same story said he “suggested cutting France’s dependence on nuclear by half”. The irony of president Hollande’s government now going to war for uranium….

Had enough of wars for oil? Don’t want wars for uranium? Let’s get on with solar and wind energy for jobs and energy independence, including not needing to go to war for fuel.

-jsq

 

1 thought on “Mali: a French War for Uranium

  1. GALLAIS

    SI CETTE ZONE ETAIT UN TEL ELDORADO IL Y AURAIT LONGTEMPS QUE LES USA ET LES CHINOIS S’Y SERAIENT INTERRESSES.
    PLUS SIMPLEMENT L’ERADICATION DES MOUVEMENTS ISLAMISTES INTEGRISTES EST DEVENU UNE NECESSITE POUR ASSURER LA SECURITE DES PEUPLES DU MONDE ENTIER
    POURVU QUE LA FRANCE REUSSISSE DANS SON OBJECTIF

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