Toute l'actu sur la protection de l'environnement

NIGER: Temporary Closure of Gold Mines Following Deaths of Around Fifty Animals

In Niger, the decision to temporarily close several gold mining sites in the northern part of the country was made on May 3, 2024, after more than fifty ruminant animals died suddenly. Suspected poisoning linked to gold mining activities is believed to be the cause, with local farmers attributing the contamination to water discharged by the Chinese gold mining company Sahara SARL.
The deaths occurred in the Agadez region, over 1,000 kilometers from the capital Niamey, on April 30. Livestock farmers in the area suggest that chemical residues from extraction wells have contaminated water sources, leading to the unprecedented animal fatalities. In villages such as Tamannit and Fasso, the loss of dozens of animals has had devastating effects on the livelihoods of local residents.
In response to this crisis, the Nigerien government has ordered the temporary closure of several mining sites, including those operated by Sahara SARL. The aim is to investigate the poisoning causes and prevent further incidents. Teams of investigators from the gendarmerie and the police have been deployed to assess the damage and take necessary measures.
These events underscore the environmental challenges associated with mining activities in African countries. Besides impacting local flora and fauna, they raise concerns about the social and environmental responsibility of mining companies. An official report confirms that chemicals used in the mines pose a serious threat to wildlife and the water table. In the Arlit region, NGOs often accuse the French company Orano (formerly Areva) of polluting the environment and causing radioactivity.
The extractive sector accounted for 7.6% of Niger’s GDP and 6.52% of government revenue in 2020. Therefore, stricter control and regulatory measures are imperative to prevent such tragedies in the future and safeguard vulnerable communities dependent on agriculture and livestock farming.
Fanta Mabo

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