For more than 50 years, Niger's mining companies SOMAÏR and COMINAK have been developing value from the country's uranium potential by mining déposits located in the northwest of the country in the desert region of the Aïr. Since the 1970s, industrial activity generated by site operations has been a major asset for regional and national economic and societal development.  Following the depletion of its resources, the COMINAK underground mine will cease production on March 31, 2021. However, the site's redevelopment and environmental monitoring work will continue for at least 20 years. A third site, Imouraren, will be begin operations as soon as market conditions permit.

Creating the conditions and carrying out actions for the continuity of uranium mining operations in northern Niger is the cornerstone of Orano’s mutually beneficial relationship with Niger.

Tailored technologies

At the The SOMAÏR mine the Extraction takes place using open-pit mining. After recovering the ore in the mine, the uranium is first extracted using two different leaching methods – heap leaching for the low grade ore and dynamic leaching. At the COMINAK mine, the ore is extracted using underground mining method and the processing plant uses dynamic processing to obtain an uranium solution.

Static treatment (Acid heap leaching)

This static treatment method makes use of low or very low grades (<1 per 1000) or less than 2 pounds of uranium per ton of rock. The ore is crushed then piled in watertight areas to be sprayed for several months with an acid solution. Through this process, the ore releases a uranium-enriched fluid which, after factory treatment, will be transported in the form of a dry concentrate called Yellowcake.

Dynamic processing (Dynamic leaching)

The ore is crushed and ground before undergoing an acid bath for several hours. Each of the elements, including uranium, is turned into pulp and the uranium fluids are recovered. Organic solutions are used to extract uranium from the liquids, which are then solidified and dried, resulting in Yellowcake.
By clicking “I accept Cookies”, you agree with the cookies use to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage and compile statistics. To get more information, please read our Cookies Policy in the Legal Notice