French nuclear group Areva this weekend resumed production at its two uranium mines in Niger, which had been closed for maintenance since mid-December, union and company sources said.
“We confirm that the maintenance phase has come to an end,” a spokesman for the French state-controlled company said on Monday.
Production at the Somair and Cominak mines was halted as Areva negotiates with the government over the renewal of its mining licences.
Niger, the world’s fourth-largest uranium producer, is trying to extract more royalties from the French group, with the mines operating in legal limbo after the expiry of their licences.
The mines’ 10-year licences expired on Dec. 31, though Niger issued a decree on Dec. 27 that potentially provides a legal framework for them to continue operating for now. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq in Paris and Abdoulaye Massalatchi in Niamey, editing by Louise Heavens)