Toute l'actu sur la protection de l'environnement

NIGER: Uranium operator Somida on trial again for pollution

The trial on the merits of the Agadez civil society case against Somida opened on Wednesday January 31, 2024 before the Niamey High Court. The company, which operates a uranium mine in northern Niger, is once again accused of polluting the environment and negatively impacting the health of local residents. The case is due to be heard on March 6, 2024.
The new legal battle pits civil society organizations (CSOs) from Agadez, united within the Collectif des OSC (COSCRAZ), against the Société des mines de Dasa (SOMIDA), which mines uranium deposits in the province of Agadez in northern Niger. Both parties were heard this Wednesday, January 31, 2024 before the Niamey High Court. Coscraz took the case to court to denounce the impact of Somida’s activities on the environment and the daily lives of people living near its mine.
« The lives of our fellow citizens are now in jeopardy. They are sent to certain death, without any concessions. Here, we have the impression that the operating rule is: ‘everything for the multinationals, nothing for the people’. Indeed, the latter benefit only from the radioactive irradiation and the multiple public health problems. And this, despite the presence of Nigerien executives who do not assert their role as sentinels to protect the interests and rights of local communities. Nor do these multinationals encourage the design of sustainable development projects, let alone the establishment of funds for environmental protection and post-mining management », says COSCRAZ.
Opacity of the environmental impact study
For the collective made up of the NGOs Conseils citoyens pour les consommateurs-que choisir, Tankara and ACP Alher, it is the future of the young generations in the Agadez region that is at stake in this lawsuit. For these organizations, the environmental impact of uranium mining must be fully and transparently assessed. After the hearing on January 31, 2024, Coscraz posted a message on its Facebook page, announcing that deliberations will be held on March 6, 2024.
At the next hearing, COSCRAZ hopes that justice will be as sensitive to their arguments as it was a year ago. On February 13, 2023, the Agadez court ordered the suspension of the activities of SOMIDA, 20% owned by the State of Niger and 80% by the Canadian company Global Atomic, until the publication of an environmental impact study. The uranium mine, which is due to go into production in November 2022, was also required to publish a set of specifications, including local content, which would then be monitored and evaluated by civil society players.
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