Niger plans audit of foreign, local mining firms
Niger’s government is planning its first ever audit of mining and energy firms as foreign explorers flock to its expanses of mineral-rich desert, the West African country’s government said.
The world’s third largest uranium producer last year changed its mining law to allow the government to audit foreign firms, in line with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) championed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
“We plan to carry out an audit which will involve all mining and energy companies,” Mines Minister Mohamed Abdoulahi told parliament late on Friday.
The former French colony has granted a wave of uranium exploration permits to firms from countries including Britain, Canada and India in recent months. Chinese explorers are among those looking for oil in its desert north.
Niger also has reserves of gold, iron ore, coal, copper, silver, platinum, vanadium, titanium and lithium, and around 100 further exploration permits are currently under consideration.
Abdoulahi said the country, one of the poorest on earth, wanted to make sure it saw the benefit of its mineral wealth.
“Measures are being taken to reinforce the abilities of our administration to follow and monitor the extent to which companies are respecting their obligations,” he said.
“Even before this (audit) plan gets underway … missions on the ground are going to be intensified,” he added.
Information from: Reuters via in.news.yahoo.com