Another natural resource of the Niger is gold. This raw material resource is extracted in the Samira mine in western Niger in the Liptako region, on the border with Burkina Faso. Gold is Niger’s second most important export good (a good 13%). The commercial exploitation of gold in Niger began in 2004 with the signing of the license agreement between the State of Niger and the SML (Societé Minière du Liptako Gourma), a consortium of Moroccan and Canadian shareholders. The Nigerien state is a shareholder with only 20%, the remaining 80% are held by foreign interests. Further gold deposits were found in the north of Niger (Djado and Tchibarakaten). What impact the gold rush in the Djado (in northeast Niger) will have on the Nigerien population remains questionable. The Swiss-Nigerien consortium (SARL) has gold mined in the traditional way, but advocates ethical working rules, including a ban on child labor.
The income from gold in Niger and also in its neighboring countries often ends up indirectly in the hands of armed groups such as Boko Haram and helps to finance them.
In Salkadamna, north of Tahoua, in the presence of the President, the first work began on the 600 megawatt coal-fired power plant, which, together with the Kandaji Dam, is supposed to make Niger energetically independent. The coal deposits were discovered when excavating wells in the 1980’s. With the support of the American company Source California Energy (SCE), the coal is to be mined by the Nigerien SNCA (Société Nigérienne de Charbon de l’Azawak). In this connection there were disputes between Chinese and American companies. The older coal mine Anou Araren (near Tchirozerine), which has been in operation since the 1980’s, should make the northern cities energetically independent, but primarily supply the uranium mining in Arlit with energy. In 1975, the Nigerien Coal Society (SONICHAR – Société Nigérienne du Charbon) was founded in this context.
Other raw materials from mining that are further processed are phosphate, gypsum and lime.
In addition to the products from the processing of raw materials from mining, the industrial processing of agricultural raw materials still plays a relatively minor role. The Nigerien Chamber of Industry, Commerce and (Arts) Crafts lists some industrial companies in its membership list. Since Mohammadou Issoufou took over the government, efforts have been made to promote the expansion of industry and thus improve national income; however, this is associated with various difficulties and obstacles. Of course, a lot depends on the entrepreneurs’ own initiative.
Slaughterhouses process that part of the slaughtered animals that are not sold as live animals across the borders or are intended for personal consumption. The approximately 900 companies in this area generate almost 5% of GDP. New and large slaughterhouses are being planned, but funds are also flowing into other channels. The export of donkey skins from thousands of illegally and cruelly slaughtered donkeys in Africa for export to China has been prohibited by Niger and its neighboring countries through an export ban.
Other industries that use agricultural raw materials are dairies for the processing of fresh milk, mostly in small to medium-sized production plants (an important processing area in a country with a lot of marginal pasture land), but also the processing of imported milk powder into dairy products; Fruit juice and lemonade preparation, mineral water bottling, breweries, mills, but also pharmaceutical companies, among others
Products for the construction industry such as cement, building blocks and paints play a significant role in industrial production.
In recent years some state-owned companies have been privatized or at least tried to be. However, no buyer was found. NIGELEC (Société Nigérienne d’Electricité), the Nigerien electricity company, which is responsible for the distribution of electricity in Niger, and SONIDEP (Société Nigerienne des Produits Pétroliers), which is responsible for the import, transport and processing of the oil, are both para-state.
According to internetsailors, the construction of the Kandaji Dam 150 km from Niamey, up the Niger near Ayourou, is intended to generate electricity and plant irrigation areas (122,000 ha), but also to regulate the river and ensure the drinking water supply of the capital Niamey. The construction of this long-planned project began in 2011. Its lake surface will be around 280 km². The main financiers are Saudi Arabia, Islamic and Arab banks, the CEDEAO and the World Bank. However, it is still questionable whether construction will end in 2020. A relocation of 38,000 people is necessary.