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Security releases young cyanide protesters in South Kordofan

August 24 - 2018 TALODI
Gold mining in Sudan (file photo)
Gold mining in Sudan (file photo)

The security service in South Kordofan has released five young men on bail. They were arrested a week ago when they were holding a symposium.

A witness told Radio Dabanga that last Saturday, members of the Sudanese security service (NISS) stormed a symposium held by youths in the town of Talodi. They staged the event to raise the residents’ awareness about the danger of cyanide, a chemical which is harmful to human and animal health.

Imam Ali, Shawgi El Amin, El Naeem Abdelmoneim, Mahjoub Mahmoud and Hamdan Yagoub were arrested, and released on bail on Thursday.

Professor Siddig Tawer, a scientific adviser to the local national committee for environmental advocacy and victims of mining, told this station that the mining companies which were expelled from Kalogi area have moved to work in Talodi locality.

“There have been occurrences of women giving birth to deformed babies in El Tadamon and Abu Jubeiha localities. The latest case has been in Abu Jubeiha. This happens because of the use of cyanide.”

Tawer’s team, led by the Health Minister of South Kordofan, earlier investigated a reported increase in the number of miscarriages, the birth of deformed children, and cases of kidney failure in El Tadamon. These deteriorating health conditions are often attributed to the result of environmental pollution caused by the use of toxics by mining companies in the region.

Health hazards

Traditional mining is carried out by excavating the soil that contains gold. Then the soil is milled and treated with mercury, which extracts about 30% of the gold in the rocks. The left over soil is then treated with cyanide to extract the remaining gold. The waste, or soil left over after the first treatment with mercury, known as “karta”, is moved to factories or labs that belong to companies that purchase the karta from private mines.

This process results in highly toxic industrial wastes, that produces various mineral salts. Traditional miners, small companies and gold labs dispose of these wastes by pouring them directly into valleys and streams, leading to heavy pollution in the environments surrounding the private mining areas, with long term consequences.

Protests against gold extraction plants in several parts of Sudan increased over recent years. In particular in 2017, people took to the streets in Northern StateNorth Kordofan, and North Darfur in fear for their health.

In May, a report published by the Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) as part of its Sudan Transparency Initiative entitled Cyanide Plants in South Kordofan State: Human Life is a Price for Gold Extraction, highlights the human and environmental costs of the use of cyanide.

South Kordofan

South Kordofan is one the states in Sudan richest in gold. While many companies are involved in mining and their work is regulated by laws and policies on large and medium-sized enterprises, artisan mining is also widespread. According to statistics mentioned by the governor of South Kordofan State, Adam El Faki, in his statements during his visit to the Bajun mines in the district of Kadeer, some of these are located in the areas of Meri; West Kadogli; East Delling; Merifain near Abu Jubeiha; Meridian; Hajjar Zarq and Karnoi; El Roseires; Hjayrat and Bardab; Bajun; El Nadeef; Qurud; Toro and other areas in the state.

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