An Arbitrary Claim that the New Niger Authorities Have Stopped Uranium and Gold Exports to France
Reuters’s fact-checkers inform that until 2nd August – and according to our checks, also on 3rd August, when this fact-check has been written – there is no official information verified by the authorities of Niger, nor by those who carried out the coup on the President of Niger, about the alleged termination of uranium and gold exports to France
I don’t know whether this can end differently but with French intervention. Or with an intervention by the allies of France in the region.
Of course, in the name of freedom, democracy, human rights and uranium. Not necessarily in that order.
The new authorities in Niger terminated the exports of uranium and gold to France – TASS.
As stated by Reuters’s fact-checkers, until 2nd August – and according to our checks, also on 3rd August, when this fact-check has been written – there is no official information verified by the authorities of Niger, nor by those who carried out the coup on the President of Niger, about the alleged termination of uranium and gold exports to France.
Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso have not announced a halt to exports of uranium and gold, despite the posts on social media in July and August suggesting all three countries had decided to stop supplies of both commodities to France and the United States. In late July, the Niger military overthrew the democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum, thereby suspending the Constitution and dissolving all institutions in the country. The juntas of neighboring Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea all voiced their support for the coup’s leaders. However, as of 2nd August, none of the three countries, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, has officially declared plans to halt uranium and gold exports, nor has any mentioned the supplies to the US or France, inform the fact-checkers of Reuters.
Niger is the world’s seventh biggest producer of uranium in the world, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), but neither Burkina Faso nor Mali mine uranium at the moment, although Mali has a uranium deposit.
The radioactive metal is the most used fuel in nuclear energy production. It is also used in treating cancer, for naval propulsion, and in nuclear weapons.
EU nuclear agency Euratom told Reuters that Niger was the second-largest supplier of natural uranium to the European Union last year, but the Agency sees no immediate risk of the EU coming to a situation to be depleted of uranium soon because it has optimal reserves, should Niger cut its deliveries.
Niger also supplies uranium to the US but is not among the top five sources of American uranium imports. The key US uranium suppliers are Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia, Russia and Namibia, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
The price of uranium has risen only slightly after the Niger coup. French nuclear energy company “Orano”, which operates uranium mines in Niger, on 1st August announced that the operations and activities continue.
Gold is produced and exported by all three countries. According to the World Gold Council, the market development organization for the gold industry, Mali was the 11th biggest gold producer in 2022, while Burkina Faso was 12th and Niger 27th.
Articles with headlines suggesting Niger is stopping uranium and gold exports to France started appearing in different media outlets on July 31 (here), but provided no evidence or any comments by local authorities, Reuters writes.
The BBC also published an article mentioning a possible stop of exports, but only referring to uranium, not gold. But later it corrected the piece noting: ”to remove a reference to the junta stopping uranium exports to France”.
The original BBC article was cited by Russia’s TASS News Agency. Its article still contains an incorrect reference, has not been updated, and is still available on the website of TASS.
Due to all of the above-noted facts, we assess as untrue the information that the new authorities of Niger stopped the uranium and gold exports to France.