- A Canadian mining company is starting an ample airborne survey of uranium deposits at its concessions in Niger, covering about one million acres. Explorations in the vast region were already made in the 1970s, showing the occurrence of uranium. Niger is already among the world's leading uranium producers, with France controlling most of the production.
The giant survey was announced by the Toronto-based mining company Northwestern Mineral Ventures today. Nortwestern said it was to commence, today, with a "comprehensive fixed-wing airborne geophysical survey over one of its two highly prospective uranium concessions" in Niger.
"Management is committed to advancing our Niger properties as quickly as possible, and we are pleased to be moving aggressively forward with our exploration program," said Kabir Ahmed, Chairman and CEO of Northwestern, in a statement today. "Through the use of advanced surveying techniques not previously applied to these properties, Northwestern can focus its efforts on the most highly prospective targets within its approximately one million acres of total land area in Niger."
The airborne survey, which is being conducted by Fugro Airborne Surveys of South Africa, is to be flown over the In Gall concession at a line spacing of 200 meters, for a total of 11,219 line kilometres, at an aircraft elevation of 80 meters.
The survey is to acquire both radiometric and magnetometric data, Northwestern says. Radiometric information is used to indicate the presence of potential uranium- bearing mineralisation, and the magnetic component will help define underlying structures that may be associated with uranium.
Northwestern's Irhazer concession, which is adjacent to the In Gall property, is also expected to be the subject of an airborne electromagnetic survey in the coming months, according to the Canadian company. Both In Gall and Irhazer are located in northern Niger, close to the regional centre of Agadez, on the trans-Saharan highway into Algeria.
"The processed data from the airborne surveys will be utilised in combination with the exploration work previously conducted on the properties in the 1970s," the company's statement says. "Through the compilation and analysis of the historical and new data, Northwestern expects to delineate high-priority areas for uranium drill testing." Following the completion of the airborne survey, the company intends to initiate a ground geophysics programme.
In Gall and Irhazer cover 988,000 acres (4,000 square kilometres) of what Northwestern calls "highly prospective land within the same stratigraphy as two operating uranium mines that together provide almost 10 percent of worldwide production."
Niger currently ranks as one of the world's top producers of uranium. The impoverished West African nation produces around 3,000 tonnes of uranium annually, mainly exporting to France, Japan and Spain. The two uranium mines currently operated in Niger are controlled by a French-led consortium. Uranium provides an estimated 72 percent of Niger's total export proceeds.
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