Uranium Mining in Africa: A Continent at the Centre of a Global Nuclear Renaissance

Image: Flickr, fairphone
Image: Flickr, fairphone

Africa holds 18% of the world's uranium resources. Interest in African uranium initially stemmed from the US's military nuclear ambitions.

Exploration and mining began in the DRC. However, expanding demand for energy, rising global oil prices and increased concern for climate change have revived interest in uranium mining and exploration in general. Much of this interest has focused on Africa because of its relatively accessible uranium, flexible regulations and low labour costs. Most uranium mining companies concentrate their efforts on the largest available uranium deposits, in Namibia and Niger. Others are looking into smaller, untapped potential uranium fields (eg. in the Central African Republic). This paper revisits the growing global interest in Africa’s uranium mines and potential uranium deposits. It examines the political, economic, social and environmental impact of current uranium mining and exploration trends in Africa. It looks into examples, frameworks and best practices that might improve the governance of uranium mining and exploration throughout the continent. There is growing demand from nuclear energy worldwide; interest in Africa’s uranium is set to grow. Africa should welcome this demand provided that it fits into stronger local and regional political frameworks.

7 Oct 2012

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Research by
Series
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 122, September 2012
Country
Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Niger
SAIIA Programme
Governance of Africa’s Resources
Tags
Mining

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