Arlit

ARLIT (RU: Арли) is the large uranium ore region within the Republic of Niger. It is situated at the south of the Sahara desert (Agadez province), at the distance of 120 kilometres from the Azel city to the north-east. It includes the following deposits: Arlit, Akouta, Imurari, Tassa-Ntagalge, Madauela, Azelik, Afasto-Est. The radioactivity of the rocks is known since the 1959, large deposits have been discovered during the 1965-71.

The deposits are represented with the lenses of the uranium-containing sandstones, which are embedded at the depth of 40-50 metres within the Carboniferous, Jurassic, and Cretaceous continental depositions of the cover of the African plate. The main ore minerals, namely, the uraninite and coffinite, may be found in association with the pyrite, melnikovite, marcasite, molybdenite, and so on. Within the certain places, the oxides, silicates, and vanadates of uranium form the industrial concentrations within the copper-bearing horizons of the variegated (formations) suites. The average content of uranium within the ore is 0.2-0.4%. The total reserves of metal are estimated at 250 thousand tonnes (1978).

The extraction of the uranium ores is conducted since the 1970 with the open pit (Arlit) and underground (Akouta) methods, and also with the help of the underground leaching. The ores are processed at the mining-metallurgical complex enterprises. The production of uranium (1980) is 1.8 thousand tonnes (Arlit) and 2 thousand tonnes (Akouta). The finished product is provided in the form of the sodium uranate with the 83.3% content of U3O8. There is expected in the future the increase of the extraction of uranium to 8 thousand tonnes per year.