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Environmental Protection Committee calls mass meeting in Sudan’s Northern State

January 18 - 2018 EL SAWADRA
Gold ingots (File photo)
Gold ingots (File photo)

The six-party Environmental Protection Committee of Sudan’s Northern state has called a mass meeting at El Sawadra today to protest against the construction of a gold factory that will use cyanide.

Wael Hassan, the information officer of the Environmental Protection Committee, told Radio Dabanga that the committee has invited all the Nubian entities to participate in the meeting.

He said that the meeting would make the necessary decisions on the ways to escalate combating of the factory. He stressed the people’s absolute rejection of the construction of the factory and pointed to the dangerous impact of cyanide on humans and the environment.

He explained that the factory management resumed the construction work three weeks ago, despite the state Governor’s earlier pledges to stop the factory.

Environmental threat

The pollution caused by the use of cyanide and mercury in gold mining “constitutes the largest and most dangerous threat to the country’s environment”, a Sudanese environment protection expert told Radio Dabanga.

“The use of cyanide and mercury will definitely lead to an environmental disaster in the country,” El Jeili Hamouda Saleh, Professor of Environmental Law at the Bahri University in Khartoum and legal advisor of the National Committee for Environmental Protection said in an interview with Radio Dabanga last year.

Responsibility

According to Dr Saleh, there are more than 40,000 gold mining sites in Sudan. About 60 gold processing companies are operating in 13 states of the country, 15 of them in South Kordofan.

He explained that the legal responsibility for gold mining and its procedures rests on the state, that is represented by the Sudanese Mining Company. “Currently this authority mainly issues permits to the gold mining companies through state and local offices.”

Khartoum must provide protection to the people and the environment in the country “by implementing the relevant international agreements, especially concerning the obligation of companies, factories, and individuals to obtain an environmental impact certificate and to adhere to safety procedures for workers and the environment.

“The international community has approved these measures. However, a number of countries, including Sudan, are violating the agreements and continue to spoil the environment,” the professor said.


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