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Livestock, birds die after mining resumes in southern Sudan

July 28 - 2019 SOUTH KORDOFAN
Environmentalists collect dead birds in Wakara, South Kordofan, July 24, 2019 (RD)
Environmentalists collect dead birds in Wakara, South Kordofan, July 24, 2019 (RD)

Environmentalists reported the death of a large number of livestock and birds in Rashad and El Tadamon in South Kordofan, following the resumption of mining in the area according to a decision of the acting governor of the state.

On Thursday, residents of Wakara in El Tadamon gave the mining company in the area 72 hours to leave after large numbers of livestock and birds died since the company resumed its activities earlier this month.

Ahmed Mukhtar, Secretary-General of the National Committee for Environmental Advocacy, told Radio Dabanga that a vigil was held in front of the mosque of Wakara on Thursday, protesting the mining company’s presence in the area.

Notables and activists held a meeting with the locality’s executive director, in which they called for the immediate suspension of the company’s activities and an investigation into the deaths of the animals.

The National Committee for Environmental Advocacy supports their demands. In a statement on Thursday, the committee announced its “categorical rejection” of the governor’s decision to allow mining companies to resume their work in the region, and called on him to immediately cancel the measure.

The committee said it is closely following-up the work of the mining companies and is taking legal actions in case the rights of the people living in mining areas are violated.

Health hazards of gold mining

South Kordofan is one the states in Sudan richest in gold. While the work of many companies is regulated by laws and policies on large and medium-sized enterprises, artisan mining, using mercury and the highly toxic cyanide to extract gold from ore, is also widespread.

Environmentalists have been warning of the health and environmental hazards of the use of mercury and cyanide for years. In January 2018, a medical team led by the Health Minister of South Kordofan investigated the increase in miscarriages, the birth of deformed children, and cases of kidney failure in the area of El Tadamon.

A report published in November 2018 by the Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) entitled Cyanide Plants in South Kordofan State: Human Life is a Price for Gold Extraction, highlighted the human and environmental costs of tradional gold mining in the region.

Protests against gold extraction plants in several parts of Sudan increased over recent years. People in Northern StateNorth Kordofan, and North Darfur as well took to the streets in fear for their health.


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