Niger Cabinet Approves New Areva Uranium Deal
Niger's cabinet of ministers on Friday approved a renewal of French nuclear group Areva's uranium production deal in the West African nation, the government said on Friday, completing two years of often fraught negotiations.
The two parties announced the signature of a new 10-year agreement for Areva's Somair and Cominak mines in May, but Friday's green light from President Mahamadou Issoufou and his ministers clears the way for its implementation.
The previous production agreement expired in Dec. 31, requiring temporary extensions.
Under the deal, Areva agreed to fewer tax breaks and higher royalty rates, the government said in a statement. The company also agreed to spend 117 million euros ($148 million) to rebuild the road to its mines in Arlit, fund a local development project, and build a new headquarters in the capital Niamey.
Niger's mines minister said in June the country expects more than 20 billion CFA francs ($39 million) in additional tax revenues a year, thanks to the renegotiation of the agreement. (1 US dollar = 519.3200 CFA franc) (1 US dollar = 0.7920 euro)
(Reporting by Abdoulaye Massalaki; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Richard Chang)