Rosatom, Orano deny deal talks on Niger nuclear assets

Credit: Orano

Russia’s Rosatom and France’s Orano denied they have held talks about a potential deal regarding uranium assets held by Orano in Niger, the groups said, rejecting a report saying they were in discussions.

Russia has had contacts with Niger’s military authorities as it seeks to take over uranium assets held by French nuclear group Orano in the West African country, Bloomberg said in a report on Monday.

However, Russian state nuclear firm Rosatom said on Tuesday it had no plans to acquire uranium mining assets.

“Rosatom rejects as completely inaccurate the reports on its ‘plans’ to acquire uranium mining assets in Niger owned by Orano,” Rosatom told Reuters.

In a statement on Monday, Orano, which has a major uranium mining operation in the north of the country, said it was not aware of any discussions with Rosatom or other Russian entities.

Orano’s operations have continued despite a military coup in July last year.

“In all cases, Orano complies and will comply with the international sanctions regimes applicable to it,” the company said.

The West African nation has the continent’s highest-grade uranium ores and is the world’s seventh-biggest producer of uranium, the radioactive metal used as fuel for nuclear energy.

In January, Niger’s self-appointed government temporarily suspended the granting of new mining licences and ordered an audit of the sector.

(By Anastasia Lyrchikova, Benjamin Mallet, Alexander Marrow and Anait Miridzhanian; Editing by David Evans)


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