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.

Key Concepts

The finding of uranium in Niger created possibilities for power within a range of places.

Aims

To be able to describe and explain the opportunities and challenges for uranium extraction in Niger.

Key Terminology

    • Yellowcake
    • Areva
    • Tuareg
    • Resource Nationalism

Define the key terms above by using the useful links below:

Useful Links

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?

      1. Describe where Niger is in Africa.
      2. Describe the relief and climate of Niger.
      3. By looking at image one and reading the slideshow describe the human challenges that Niger may currently be facing.

Image One - Location of Niger

sahel-dynamics.png

Taken From -

https://arabist.net/blog/2012/7/2/great-info-map-of-sahel-dynamics.html?rq=info%20map%20sahel%20dynamics

Image Two - Google Map of the Uranium Mines in Niger

Taken From

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1YrnB11bR6tj12mUBkQWxpOYSu9o&ll=18.73665373358186%2C7.339950786474674&z=12

Useful Resources

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. Using the graph below describe trend of the price of uranium. Don't forget to include data in your answer.

Image Three - Price of Uranium in US Dollars per Pound

Taken From -

https://www.quandl.com/data/ODA/PURAN_USD-Uranium-Price

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.

Useful Resources

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.

Useful Resources

Social

Environmental

Exam Style Question

Examine the opportunities and challenges associated with mineral extraction in arid extreme environments. [10]