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.

  • 59 % of the shares in COMINAK are held by Orano (France)

  • 31 % by SOPAMIN (State of Niger)

  • 10 % by ENUSA (Empresa National del Uranio SA), Spain/li>

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 ore is processed in the plant located close to the site with a processing capacity of around 1,500 metric tons per year. The average grade of the ore from COMINAK is about 3 kg of uranium per metric ton of ore extracted.

Creation : 1974
Headquarters : Niamey
Type of mine : Underground mine (250 m deep); 291 km of galleries
End product : Magnesium uranate
Start of production : 1978
Grade : 3.07‰ U per metric ton of ore (2020 average)  
Total cumulative production to date : > 75 000  metric tons of U
Average annual production capacity : 1.000 to 1.500 metric tons of uranium
Workforce at the end of December 2020 : 617 employees and 630 sub-contractors

Techniques :

Extraction method: Room and Pillar

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:

  • Marking out: excavation of galleries leaving square pillars
  • Pillar extraction: removal of the pillars left in the marking out phase


Performed entirely by machine, the mining cycle consists of 5 main operations :

  • Drilling
  • Placing of blast charges and firing
  • Mucking
  • Draining
  • Bolting


Processing : Dynamic Leaching

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.

Steps of processing:

  • Grinding
  • Acid leaching
  • Filtration
  • Solvent extraction
  • Drying


COMINAK - A responsible mining company

Health, Safety & Environment


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.

  • Total number of samples taken in 2019 for all analyses and all radiological monitoring stations/structures: 1100

  • The annual incremental dose for the sedentary population of Akokan was 0.71 mSv in 2019 compared to an average of 0.60 mSv over the past 5 years. This exposure is below the regulatory threshold of 1 mSv fixed by Nigerien law, and most importantly does not pose any danger to the environment or the health of populations.

  • The annual dose increment allowing for natural radioactivity for employees of COMINAK was 5.3 mSv/year and the maximum dose was 15.90 mSv/year, below the regulatory threshold of 20 mSv per year fixed by Nigerien law and international regulations.

Regional Development

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).

COMINAK assumes its corporate social responsibilities by directly covering other costs of regional and local development:


  • Free healthcare for people with no links to the mining companies who lives in the mining towns of Arlit and Akokan, and the surrounding areas, or even those from other regions of the country

  • Making available of utilities to housing for the Defense and Security Forces

  • Supply of water to the population (public fountains and gardens)

  • Donations of fuel and lubricants to the Iférouane market gardening cooperative (Coopérative des Maraîchers d’Iférouane)

  • Certain costs of the urban management of the towns of Akokan and Arlit


  • Learn more about Orano's mining activity in Niger :
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