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‘Services, infrastructure depend on gold factories’: Kordofan Commissioner

February 5 - 2017 EL TADAMON
File photo
File photo

The Commissioner of El Tadamon Locality in South Kordofan says basic services, health, education, water, electricity, and roads will only be provided to the El Zarafa area if the population consent to the establishment of ‘Karta’ gold factories.

Addressing a conference on the grassroots of the National Congress Party at El Zarafa, the Commissioner pledged to compel companies to provide basic services in the region. He denied that cyanide will be used for gold extraction.

Objections to the Karta gold extraction are frequently heard from residents of the country’s gold-producing areas, as cyanide is highly toxic – even in tiny doses – and is extremely damaging to the environment*.

El Zarafa residents have renewed their categorical rejection of the resumption of the work of the Karta factories in the area. They have called upon the authorities “to play their role in providing basic services as the core of the work of the government to its citizens”.

‘No alternative’

The chairperson of the Sudanese Parliament's Energy Committee, Hayat El Mahi, has however confirmed that “some of the mining companies do not comply with the government regulations on the use of cyanide”, and continue to use it “as there is no alternative”. She said that “if the use of cyanide stops, so does the gold extraction”.

Sudan earns around $1 billion a year from gold production. This source of foreign currency has become even more important to fill-in for lost oil revenues after the secession of South Sudan.

Highly toxic

In an interview with Radio Dabanga in December, Sudanese chemical expert Dr Yasir Hamouda expressed alarm that the Sudanese government allows the use of the highly toxic cyanide in mining. He highlighted the dangerous effects of cyanide on living organisms and the environment.

Dr Hamouda said that most countries in the world countries have prohibited its use because it is difficult to control. He pointed out that it takes less than two grams of cyanide to kill humans and animals.

He also warned of the risks of traditional mining to human health as a result of the use of mercury: “The Sudanese government’s allowing of this kind of mining without providing safety as irresponsible.”

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