The French nuclear giant Areva started mining activities in the Agadez Region of Niger in 1968, with the creation of the holding company SOMAIR and the open pit mine of Arlit. In 1974 a second holding company, COMINAK, was created together with the underground mine of Akouta, close to the town of Akokan. Both Arlit and Akokan were built by AREVA. People living in the area are exposed to radioactivity and death rates linked to respiratory problems are twice those of the rest of the country. Local NGO Aghir in Man together with other EJOs and CSOs of the Region contacted international organizations such as CRIIRAD, Sherpa and Greenpeace to evaluate the health and environmental conditions of the area. They found alarming levels of radioactivity in water, soil and air samples, hundreds time higher than normal levels. The aquifers are contaminated and have been drained, making the traditional way of life of Tuareg people impossible. Miners and their families die prematurely of undeclared diseases. Peaceful demonstrations and strikes have been organized by local CSOs and miners asking for better working conditions and a more equitable share of profits in the North. A Tuareg rebellion has continued on and off for many years despite negotiations.