Natural resources, energy and environment
Niger is one of the world's largest producers
of uranium and also has significant assets of oil and
gold, among others. Energy consumption is low and the
most common fuel is firewood.
The uranium mining started in 1971 outside the city
of Arlit in northern Niger. It is mainly run by French
mining companies with the Nigerian state as a partner,
but in recent years Chinese, Canadian and Indian
companies have also become involved in the business. In
2009, work began on building the world's next largest
open pit mine, in the Imuouraren south of Arlit. The
work was run under the auspices of the French company
Areva and suffered several delays. Demand for uranium
failed after the nuclear accident in Japan in 2011 and
the security problems in the region have also taken
place. When the mine can go to full capacity, it doubles
Niger's uranium extraction.
Major exports by Niger with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
In 2005, oil deposits were discovered in Niger and in
2011 a Sino-Nigerian company began pumping oil out of a
field at Agadem in eastern Niger. The oil is transported
in a pipeline to a refinery in the city of Zinder in the
Commercial mining of gold began in 2004 in Samira
Hill in western Niger. The government owns 20 percent
of the joint venture involving foreign companies.
Niger also has large deposits of tin, limestone,
phosphate, salt, silver and plaster. However, better
transport options and electricity supply are needed to
exploit these to a greater extent than today.
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Energy consumption is covered by approximately 90
percent of firewood. The need for electricity is mainly
covered by electricity imports from Nigeria. The rest is
produced in coal-fired power plants or in diesel
generators. Electricity is primarily used by the mining
industry. Less than a tenth of the population has access
to electricity. A hydropower plant is under construction
in the Niger River.
The extensive use of firewood leads to deforestation
and soil degradation. Mining also creates environmental
problems; the World Health Organization WHO has warned
that land and water in the mining areas have high levels
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
151 kg of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
52 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
2 127,000 tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
0.1 ton (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
78.9 percent (2015)
Radioactive emission at the mine
The environmental organization Greenpeace reports on major radioactive
emissions from the Somair uranium mine in northern Niger.
President Tandja can be prosecuted
President Tandja, who was deposed in the military coup in 2010, loses his
prosecution immunity and can thus face trial for crimes.
Nigerians say yes to new constitution
A referendum is being conducted on a proposal for a new constitution. It is
seen as a first step on the road to civilian rule. An overwhelming majority of
Nigerians vote in favor of the draft constitution, which states that a person
can only hold the office for two terms. The proposal also means that the coup
makers receive amnesty (impunity) for the military coup 2010.
Alleged new coup averted
General Djibou, the leader of the military junta, lets arrest four
high-ranking officers, including his closest husband. The arrested are accused
of planning a new military coup.
Al Qaeda kidnaps Frenchmen
The extreme Islamist al-Qaeda movement in Maghreb (Aqim) kidnaps seven
foreign nationals, including five Frenchmen, at an uranium mine. al-Qaeda leader
Usama bin Laden says the kidnappings are revenge for France's unfair treatment
of Muslims. He cites the French ban on wearing a veil in some contexts as an
example of this.
Tens of thousands of homeless people in flood
Extensive floods exacerbate the food shortage among the population. Skyfall
flushes away homes for at least 100,000 people.
Risk of extensive food shortages
Several aid organizations go out and warn that seven million Nigerians, or
half the country's population, are at risk of food shortages.
Corruption investigation leads to dozens of arrests
A special commission with the task of combating financial crime among public
servants sends 34 suspected cases of corruption to the justice system. A number
of senior officials, including several former ministers, are arrested.
"Elections to be held in early 2011"
The military junta announces that general elections will be held in early
2011 and that power be handed over to a democratically appointed president in
the spring of that year.
Kidnapped Frenchman is killed
A Frenchman is kidnapped by the violent Islamist al-Qaeda movement in the
Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) at the border with Mali. He is killed in a French
The committee will propose a new constitution
The governing military junta appoints a committee tasked with drawing up a
proposal for a new constitution.
Deputy ministers are arrested
About 10 people who served under President Tandja, including several of his
ministers, are arrested on suspicion of overthrowing activities.
Review of mining contracts
The ruling military junta announces that all contracts with mining companies
for gold and uranium mining granted during President Tandja's time in power
should be reviewed.
Hunger threatens Niger
A famine threat threatens Niger, and the Red Cross is pleading for a million
dollars in emergency aid to the country. The governing military junta is being
praised internationally for how it handles the situation.
Advisory bodies are set up
An advisory body is set up to operate during the transitional period until
general elections can be held. The Council is led by human rights activist Marou
Amadou (not to be confused with former Prime Minister Hama Amadou).
New civil-dominated government
Niger's new Prime Minister Danda presents a transitional government in which
five ministers are military and the rest are civilians.
Juntan appoints civilian prime minister
A few days after the military coup, the military junta appoints Mahamadou
Danda as new prime minister. Danda is a civilian politician who was Minister of
Communications after the military coup in 1999 (see Modern History). Several
opposition leaders welcome the military coup.
President Tandja is deposed in a military coup
A military coup is conducted under the leadership of Colonels Salou Djibo and
Djibrilla Hima Hamidou. President Tandja is jailed, the constitution is repealed
and the state institutions dissolved. Curfews are introduced and the country's
borders are closed. The coup makers announce that they intend to draft a new
constitution and that elections will then be held. The African Union (AU) and
the West African cooperation organization Ecowas condemn the military coup.