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Toxic mining waste to be removed from residential areas in Sudan

January 22 - 2020 KHARTOUM / TALODI / KALOGI / EL LERI
A sit-in against toxic mining in Talodi in September 2019 (RD correspondent)
A sit-in against toxic mining in Talodi in September 2019 (RD correspondent)

Minister of Energy and Mining Adil Ibrahim has ordered the removal of mining waste from residential areas in Talodi, Kalogi and El Leri in South Kordofan. Eight gold mining companies operating in South Kordofan confirmed that the decision was taken.

The Minister called his decision “an important message for the people of Talodi, Kalogi, and El Leiri”. He stated that removing mining waste from residential areas will be “a model” for other areas. “Community safety is important, especially when people live near production areas. People, animals, and land must be protected.”

Ibrahim announced that new policies and measures on mining will follow. New contracts with all mining companies will be negotiated. People working at mining companies must be trained in health, safety, and the environment (HSE).

The governor of South Kordofan praised the decision. He stressed the importance of actually implementing the new regulations.

Protests against mining have increased in recent years in several states in Sudan, especially South Kordofan, North Kordofan, North Darfur and Northern State.

Traditional mining

Traditional mining is carried out by excavating the soil that contains gold. The soil is then milled and treated with mercury, which extracts about 30 per cent of the gold in the rocks. The leftover soil is treated with cyanide to extract the remaining gold. The 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 waste. 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 mining areas. This has long term health consequences.

 


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