COMINAK (Compagnie Minière d’AKOUTA) is a public limited company under Nigerien law with registered share capital of 3.5 billion FCFA, created on June 12, 1974. It mines uranium deposits in the province of Agadez, in the north of Niger.
COMINAK is located in the department of ARLIT (region of Agadez), 1,200 km to the North-West of Niamey. COMINAK conducts its industrial activities in AKOUTA, an industrial area located 6 km from the urban compound in AKOKAN where the workers and their families live. The site is located 12 km away from the facilities of the SOMAÏR mine.
COMINAK mines the sedimentary deposits of Akouta, Akola and Ebba which cover a distance of 9.4 km from north to south, and from 1 to 2 km from east to west. The underground mine, one of the largest in the world, located at a depth of 250 meters, is accessed via a 1,300-meter decline and is comprised of 291 km of galleries. Several technical disciplines work there: geologists, miners (stoping operators), and maintenance personnel (mechanics, electricians, boilermakers, etc.).
The COMINAK site mines its deposits mainly by using the room and pillar method. The ore is stoped by blasting horizontal mines. This is broken down into two phases:
In order to obtain a uranium-rich solution, the processing plant on the COMINAK site uses dynamic leaching. The crushed and ground ore is subjected to an oxidizing attack in an acid medium in tanks. Once this operation is complete, the uranium turns into pulp. After filtering and washing of the pulp, the uranium-bearing liquor is recovered and sent to the back end of the mill for purification and concentration.
COMINAK has been ISO 14001-certified (sustainable management and protection of the environment) since 2003, and OHSAS 18001-certified for its management system compliant with health and occupational safety standards, since 2011.
These certifications are subject to regular renewal audits.
COMINAK conducts its operations in the strictest compliance with the regulations in force concerning the protection of the environment and human health. The company performs radiological monitoring of the air, water, food chain and soil within the footprint of its mining operations. The results are presented on a regular basis to the authorities and at public meetings. Regulatory radiation protection limits are strictly complied with. Inspections and sampling are also carried out every year by the Nigerien authorities concerned.
COMINAK remains an important player in the implementation of the regional development policy deployed in the North of the country at the government's initiative at the end of the 1970s and related to the boom in industrial mining in the region. It provided 136 million CFA francs worth of support for local development in 2019 (education, support for sporting and cultural activities, access to water, health).