Bottom Line: Following on the recent announcement by the authorities in Niger that Areva will have to undergo a state audit, thousands of local residents take to the streets to protest Areva, opening another window for a potential security risk.
Analysis: In Niger, thousands of local residents in Arlit launched protests on Saturday, 12 October, against French uranium mining company, Areva, in a show of support for the government’s planned audit of the company as it seeks to get a better deal. As we noted recently, Areva has two mines in Niger: Somair and Cominak. Together these two facilities produce about one-third of France’s nuclear power. But the 10-year contract for these mines ends this year, and the government of Niger is planning to take advantage of that by auditing the company and determining how it can get a better deal. The plan will be to increase tax revenues from Areva and to force it into more significant investments in infrastructure.
Recommendation: These protests, while not violent in nature, will have implications for security, which is already extremely fragile, and militant groups could take advantage of the protest tension to infiltrate the area once again.