A medical team led by the Health Minister of South Kordofan is investigating the increase in miscarriages, the birth of deformed children, and cases of kidney failure in El Tadamon locality.
The deteriorating health conditions are most probably the result of environmental pollution caused by the use of toxics by mining companies in the region.
The medical team visited El Tartar Hospital in El Tadamon, the gold extraction plants Liha and El Rimal, and the most affected areas of El Zarafa, El Tartar, El Azrag, and El Debba last week.
They took blood samples of the patients in the hospital and deformed children in the area, and samples from the soil near the plants, the waste coming from the mines, as well as from living and dead birds.
The residents of El Tadamon renewed their demands concerning the closure of the gold companies in the region.
The National Committee for the Protection of the Environment in South Kordofan has been warning for years for the health and environmental hazards of the use of the highly toxic cyanide to extract gold from ore. The Committee began last year with advocating for better mining legislation and regulations in accordance with international standards.
Protests against gold cyanidation plants in several parts of the country have increased, in particularly in 2017. In March, police were deployed to protect the about 100 mining areas in South Kordofan after angry people torched parts of a gold extraction facility in Talodi. In October, a curfew was imposed in Kologi, to quell protests against the state government’s invitation to gold mining companies to come and work in the area.
In May last year, the then federal Minister of Minerals, Mohamed Ahmed El Karori, commended the use of safe chemicals in mining operations. There are 361 registered mining companies in Sudan, he said. All of them use cyanide.
The new Minerals Minister, Dr Hashem Ali Salem, ordered the shutdown of a gold extraction plant in Um Baru in North Darfur last week. The company operated without a license and seriously affected the environment. MP Minawi Digeish, representing Um Baru, told Radio Dabanga that a large number of livestock and birds died after the cyanidation factory began working.