Mercury used by artisnal gold miners

Mercury used by artisnal gold miners

The Popular Committee for Environmental Protection has welcomed Sudan’s Northern state Governor Awad Ali’s decision to withdraw a permit in South Kordofan’s mining area, to establish a factory that would extract gold with toxic chemicals.

The Northern state government withdrew the permit of the unnamed company, following popular protests by discontent residents.

The mining company had plans for a factory in Sebu in Dalgo locality in northern Sudan, using mercury and cyanide to separate gold and silver particles from ore.

A series of protests against the permit lasted four days before the governor decided to categorically withdraw all the company’s machinery from the site on 17 January.

Governor Ali proposed holding an investigation into the health and environmental effects of the chemicals when members of the committee toured the area on 13 January. The toxins could cause various health problems, which could be fatal.

Ahmed Mukhtar, secretary-general, Popular Committee for Environmental Protection, noted that more than 30 companies now exist in South Kordofan. “These companies have established factories in the populated areas amid the absence of any engineering considerations.

“These toxic substances exist for long periods in the soil, water and trees, which constitutes damage to the forest and animal wealth in the state, in the long term.” Mukhtar said he anticipates an environmental disaster in the state because of leaking toxic substances across the water and valleys during the coming rainy season. He added that the committees cooperate with all competent authorities in order to reach solutions to this problem.