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Northern Sudanese renew demand to close gold factory

August 25 - 2017 SAWARDA / EL TADAMON
Protests in northern Sudan’s Sawarda against the gold cyanidation site in the area, 8 April 2017 (RD)
Protests in northern Sudan’s Sawarda against the gold cyanidation site in the area, 8 April 2017 (RD)

In Northern State, the committee against the use of harmful chemicals in the process of gold mining reiterated its rejection of the use of cyanide.

The 'six-party committee' considers to invite experts to inspect the gold factory in Sawadra for its alleged use of the toxic chemical cyanide. Cyanidation, a technique for extracting gold from low-grade ore, is the most commonly used process for gold extraction. The process is controversial because of the highly toxic nature of cyanide.

The spokesman for the committee, Wael Hassan released a press statement on Wednesday in which the committee demanded from the state to dismantle the factory as promised. In addition the committee rejected the experts whom visited the factory on Tuesday, saying that they were not included in this decision and believe the experts are affiliated to the state government.

In April, people in Sawarda blocked the highway between Dongola and Halfa, demanding the removal of a gold cyanidation plant in the area. The local authorities then ignored the decision by a judge to suspend the operation of the site.

South Kordofan

People in El Tadamon and Abu Jubeiha, South Kordofan, said to be “outraged” about the fact that companies that were told to stop their activities by the authorities, continued operating. “They use harmful substances to humans and the environment, and do not comply with the transparency regarding the quantities of gold they produce,” a resident told Radio Dabanga.

The factory's opponents asked from the central government to stop these companies immediately.

In July, two people were killed and seven others wounded in a clash between residents of Merifein village, south of Abu Jubeiha in eastern South Kordofan, in a dispute that rose among the villages about the gold extraction plant in the area. In end March, angry residents of Talodi in South Kordofan set fire to the El Tagola gold extraction plant.

For more than two years, the National Committee for the Protection of the Environment in South Kordofan is warning for the health and environmental hazards of using highly toxic cyanide to extract gold from ore.

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