Niger is a leading producer of mineral commodities such as uranium (the world’s fourth largest producer) as well as gold, coal and crude oil. There has been ongoing investment in new uranium production capacity and the government awarded 38 new mining licences in 2013.
Niger is currently building two pipeline projects. One carries refined petroleum products to the border with Burkina Faso. The other, a pipeline to the coast of Benin, would allow Niger to become a crude oil exporter and significantly contribute to increased production. Crude oil output and exports of refined petroleum products are currently constrained by the country’s sole refinery’s capacity of 20,000 barrels per day and transport logistics. The proposed pipeline, traversing Benin to the coast would be capable of transporting up to 185,000 barrels per day. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), project construction is expected to start in 2019 and to take three years to complete.
According to the IMF, there is only one industrial gold mining company operating in the country. This gold mine produced 1.3 tons of gold in 2017 with an export value of 0.5% GDP. However, the vast majority of gold production is artisanal and is not properly captured in official statistics. Unofficial estimates from the IMF range from 4 to 10 tons. Artisanal gold mining is expanding rapidly and could soon overtake uranium as the second largest export earner.