Wadi Halfa — On Tuesday morning, villagers took to the streets in Himeid in Northern State's Wadi Halfa locality in protest against a gold extraction plant in the area. The demonstrators were forcibly dispersed by security and police forces.
The demonstration was organised by the Five-party Anti-mining Committee of the villages of El Sukout, where the Hasour Company plans to build a gold cyanidation site.
One of the protesters told Radio Dabanga that the police forced participants from Khartoum to return after a six-hour bus journey to the area.
"Security and police forces dispersed the protesters in the sunshades set up about 500 metres away from the place where the plant is constructed," he added.
The protester said that the villagers demand the cancellation of the site under construction, the formation of a technical committee to investigate the increased number of cancer and hepatitis B cases in the area.
Cyanidation is a technique for extracting gold from low-grade ore. It is the most commonly used process for gold extraction. Because of the highly toxic nature of cyanide however, the process is controversial, and its usage banned in a number of countries.
Popular actions against the use of toxic substances in gold mining sites in northern Sudan and in South and North Kordofan, are growing stronger. In end March, angry residents of Talodi in South Kordofan set fire to the El Tagola gold extraction plant.
People in Sodari in the northern part of North Kordofan protested in April against the use of cyanide, fearing the impact of the highly toxic substance on the environment, in particular the pollution of the water sources in the neighbourhood.
In the same month, people in Sawarda in Northern State blocked the highway between Dongola and Halfa, demanding the removal of a gold cyanidation plant in the area. The local authorities reportedly ignored the decision by a judge to suspend the operation of the site.