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SOMAÏR: Open-pit mine operations

SOMAÏR open-cast mine in Niger

Updated October 2014

SOMAÏR, a subsidiary of AREVA, has been mining several uranium deposits in northwestern Niger, several kilometers from the city of Arlit, since 1971.
SOMAÏR (Société des Mines de l’Aïr) was created in 1968. Its capital is held 63.6% by AREVA and 36.4% by SOPAMIN (Société du Patrimoine des Mines du Niger, the Nigerien agency that manages the State’s mining interests).

Production: nearly 60,000 tons already produced

The uranium ore is extracted in open-pit mines at a depth of 50 to 70 meters from a horizontal sedimentary deposit located 7 kilometers northwest of the town of Arlit. The average grade of the uranium ore in this deposit is 2.8‰ (2.8 kg of uranium per metric ton of ore)  

From the beginning, the ore has been processed dynamically (crushing, fine grinding, chemical treatment, washing, filtration, drying and packaging) in a plant located near the site. This facility has a processing capacity of about 2,000 metric tons per year. Low-grade ore (less than 1‰) has been processed statically using the acid heap leaching method.

In 2013, SOMAÏR produced 2,730 tons of uranium metal in the form of sodium uranate, bringing the company's cumulative production since it began mining to more than 58,400 tons of uranium as of end-2013.

Mining operations that support local development

Certified to both the ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 standards, SOMAÏR works to improve performance in order to strengthen its competitiveness in the global uranium market.

In keeping with AREVA’s policy, SOMAÏR’s activities have resulted in several hundred direct and indirect jobs for the local population. SOMAÏR also contributes to providing health and social services in an isolated region, thus helping to improve living conditions for the population.

SOMAÏR has nearly 2,800 employees, 98% of whom are Nigerien. Its headquarters are in Niamey.


Immeuble Sonora I
Place du Rond Point Kennedy
B.P. 12910
Niamey, Niger
Tel.: +227 72 29 70
Fax: +227 72 51 13