NIAMEY (Reuters) - French uranium mining and nuclear fuel group Areva NewCo’s two uranium mines in Niger will cut staff and output in the face of falling uranium prices, a local union leader said on Wednesday.
The state-owned company runs the open-cut Somair mine outside the northern, desert town of Arlit and the giant underground Cominak mine nearby.
“The managing director (of Cominak) told us there would be severe restrictions, without giving details,” Amadou Miou, the head of the Arlit section of the Synamines union, told Reuters.
“There will also be a reduction in production from 1,400 tonnes to 1,100 tonnes from January,” he said.
Miou said Somair’s managing director had told staff that 190 jobs would be eliminated there and a freeze would be placed on contracts for 500 contractors.
Cominak and Somair officials were not immediately reachable by telephone. Areva did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Areva NewCo holds a 63.6 percent stake in Somair and is the largest stakeholder in Cominak, with 34 percent.
Miou said the union was establishing a committee to study the companies’ decisions. Areva NewCo was split off from state-owned integrated nuclear group Areva this year after its parent company’s equity was wiped out following years of losses.
The French state recapitalised NewCo with a 2.5 billion euro capital increase in July, while Japan’s MHI and JNFL also plan to put in 500 million euros.
Reporting by Boureima Balima; Additional reporting by Geert De Clercq in Paris; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Alexander Smith