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Northern Sudanese protest toxic impact of gold mining

March 4 - 2015 RIVER NILE
Gold mine workers walk to their shelter during a sandstorm in River Nile state, July 2013 (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)
Gold mine workers walk to their shelter during a sandstorm in River Nile state, July 2013 (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

Hundreds of people took to the streets in El Bowga, River Nile state, on Tuesday, in protest against the use of toxic substances by gold mining companies in the area.

Speaking to Dabanga, an angry resident of El Bowga reported that people from the various town districts gathered on Tuesday morning.

“They closed the grand market, before they besieged the government offices, chanting slogans against the use of toxic materials in the gold mining operations in the area, and demanded that they stop immediately.”

On 11 February, Dabanga reported about the mass death of fish in Lake Nasser, south of Wadi Halfa, on the border between Sudan and Egypt.

A source from the Ministry of Environment expressed his concerns about mercury and cyanide, employed by prospectors in northern Sudan to separate gold particles from ore, “in quantities that exceed the global rate limit”.

Cancer

In May last year, Dabanga reported about an unusually high rate of cancer cases in the area of Wadi Halfa, near the Sudanese-Egyptian border.

A resident from the area attributed the problem to the use of cyanide by gold exploration companies in northern Sudan. 

“Cyanide spreads through the air, and can reach places over a distance of 150km. This has caused the large increase of cancer cases, and the pollution of the water and the air, with the result that birds are dropping dead, and large numbers of dead fishes are now floating on the Nile,” he said.

Three weeks ago, people in Wadi Halfa reported the mass death of fish in Lake Nasser.


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