002 - Mineral Extraction in Hot and Arid Environments
Geographic Knowledge and Understanding
Human and physical opportunities and challenges for mineral extraction in arid environments, including inaccessibility and climatic and political factors.
Sub Unit 4: Increasing competition for access to resources in extreme environments including the role of indigenous groups, civil society organisations, transnational corporations and militia groups.
The finding of uranium in Niger created possibilities for power within a range of places.
To be able to describe and explain the opportunities and challenges for uranium extraction in Niger.
Define the key terms above by using the useful links below:
Activity One - Location
As you are beginning to find out in Geography the location of our case studies is important. We are studying areas that most of us have never visited and in some cases may never have even heard about. Niger is in Africa but where?
Describe where Niger is in Africa.
Describe the relief and climate of Niger (Physical challenges)
By looking at image one and reading the slideshow describe the human challenges that Niger may currently be facing (Human Challenges).
Niger's Uranium Industry
Activity Two - Describe
If the price of uranium was not high enough to be profitable, then countries would not want to extract or manipulate what other countries have got. Uranium is also used in nuclear energy and as country's look for ways to become resource secure uranium could become an increasingly popular resource to extract.
Using the first link in the 'Useful Resources' box describe the economy of Niger (first three sections).
Using the graph below describe trend of the price of uranium (Economic Challenge). Don't forget to include data in your answer.
Using the second link in the 'Useful Resources' box, describe the changes to the mining sites along with the reasons for the move and closures (Economic Challenge and Dependence).
Activity Three - Opportunities
So far we have looked at the challenges that face companies and countries that wish to extract uranium within Niger, so why would anyone bother to invest? Read the following articles and bullet point the opportunities. Try and divide the opportunities into national and international benefits.
Activity Four - Conflict
Most extractions of raw materials often causes some form of conflict. This conflict is strongly linked to the environment as the extraction causes a change to the landscape and infrastructure has to be put in place to export the mineral. Settlements also develop alongside an extraction site as workers need somewhere to live and that involves an even greater amount of building. Divide a piece of paper into three and write notes on the conflict caused by the extraction of uranium. You could use a different colour for each factor.
Social and Political
Exam Style Question
Examine the opportunities and challenges associated with mineral extraction in arid extreme environments. 
This lesson was development in collaboration with Richard Allaway from geographyalltheway. For more resources please visit www.geographyalltheway.com