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'Significant advances' in Niger talks with French nuclear giant Areva

media Areva boss Luc Oursel met Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou on Friday Reuters/Jacky Naegelen

Niger's government and French nuclear giant Areva made "significant advances" in talks on Friday, both sides agreed after Areva boss Luc Oursel met President Mahamadou Issoufou along with a representative of the French government.

Friday's meeting "allowed us to make significant advances", Niger's Mining and Development Minister Omar Hamidou Tchiana told RFI. "Negotiations will continue but we came to an understanding on a certain number of points."

Areva and Niger's government have had some stormy meetings over the last few months after Niamey demanded more tax income from the company's uranium mines in the north of the country but Friday's meetinig is reported to have been calmer.

On Friday for the first time a French government representative was present in the form of the chairman of Areva's suprevisory board, Pierre Blayau.

Both sides said the meeting was an important step towards an agreement and other questions apart from the taxes Areva pays were addressed.

Niger's government wants to have the chairmanship of the two subsidiaries that mine at Arlit, Cominaac and Somaïr.

It also wants Areva to pay for the reconstruction of the road between Arlit and Tahoua, although the company says that the proposed bill is too high.

Areva wants the number of its employees in Niger to stay the same and to open a new opencast mine in Imouraren, not far from Arlit.

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