Niger government withdraws GoviEx mining rights

05 July 2024

The Vancouver-based company said it has been informed by the Minister of Mines, by letter, "that it no longer has rights over the perimeter of the Madaouela mining permit, which is now in the public domain".

Mines Minister Ousmane Abarchi visited Madaouela in May (Image: GoviEx/X)

GoviEx Uranium said the decision to withdraw its mining rights "does not follow the withdrawal procedure prescribed under the applicable mining code".

GoviEx began operations in Niger in 2007, and has advanced Madaouela from the initial exploration phase, through a period of "historically low" uranium prices, to the publication of a feasibility study in late 2022, on the way completing some 650,000 metres of drilling to define a potential mineral resource which the company says is now amongst the largest known in the world. "With the recent recovery in uranium prices, the Madaouela Project was poised for development and the Company had started to advance despite the political changes in Niger since the coup d'Etat on 26 July 2023," GoviEx said.

In May, Niger's Mines Minister Ousmane Abarchi visited Madaouela as part of a tour of exploration and mining projects within the northern Agadez region. He reviewed the ongoing ground works and current mine plans at GoviEx's project. The minister's itinerary also took in Global Atomic's Dasa project, where underground development began in late 2022 and first deliveries of uranium are expected in 2025.

It was just two weeks ago that French company Orano announced the withdrawal by Niger's authorities of the operating permit for its Imouraren uranium mine. Like Orano before it, GoviEx said it is committed to continuing its engagement with government officials and stakeholders, but reserves the right to challenge the decision.

"GoviEx believes that the Government's decision to withdraw the mining rights for the Madaouela Project will have a negative impact on the economic and social development of the region. With a forecast initial capital expenditure of USD343 million, as well as considerable employment opportunities, the project was forecast to create up to 800 jobs over its projected 20-year mine life, with substantial royalty payments and taxes payable to the Government," it said.

The government of Niger holds a 20% stake in COMIMA SA, the Nigerien company set up to develop the Madaouela project.

GoviEx said it continues to progress its mine-permitted Muntanga project in Zambia, for which it expects to publish a feasibility study in the second half of this year.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News