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Niger Areva uranium workers begin 72-hour strike
NIAMEY, July 9 |
NIAMEY, July 9 (Reuters) - About 1,200 workers at Niger's Akouta uranium mine owned by COMINAK, a subsidiary of France's Areva, have began a 72-hour strike to demand higher wages, a union official said on Monday.
Inoua Neino, secretary general of the SYNTRAMIN union, said production had stopped at the over 1,600 tonnes a year mine in the north of the west African nation after the workers downed tools.
"We embarked on a strike after our demand for a 3 percent raise in salaries, even though insignificant, was not met with satisfaction by management," Neino told journalists.
"Workers did not go down into the mine today and if they are not down there, it means that there was no extraction, and if there was no extraction, there is no production," he said.
The company was not immediately available for comment.
Niger is the top supplier of uranium to France's nuclear power industry. COMINAK has been mining deep uranium deposits in the northwest of Niger since 1978.
Niger produces about 4,000 tonnes of uranium per year from mines mostly operated by Areva. China National Nuclear Corp also has a uranium mining project in the country with output of 700 tonnes per year.
Areva's Imouraren mine, under construction, is expected to more than double Niger's current production when it comes online in 2014 with expected output of 5,000 tonnes per year. (Reporting by Abdoulaye Massalatchi; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by M.D. Golan)
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