Areva sees 2013 start-up at Niger uranium mine

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French nuclear group Areva said Tuesday it hoped to have its huge uranium mine at Imouraren in northern Niger operational by the end of 2013.

"The project is continuing at the same pace," Areva mining director Sebastien de Montessus told journalists, adding that 500 people were now working at the site.

The mine is expected to produce 5,000 tonnes of uranium a year and represents an investment of more than 1.2 billion euros (1.5 billion dollars).

Areva has been active for 40 years in Niger, on which it depends for nearly half its uranium.

It recently came to an understanding with authorities there, who had accused the company of supporting a rebellion by the Tuareg people.

Work on the Imouraren mine began in May 2009. The company operates two other sites in Niger, located 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) north of the capital Niamey, at Arlit and Akokan.

© 2010 AFP

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