7 July 2017

Sudan: North Darfur Residents Demand Gold Factory Removed

Um Keddada — People in Um Keddada gave the North Darfur state government three days to remove a gold mining factory, to be established near a village.

Residents of El Naim in Um Keddada locality announced their demand on Wednesday. One of the protesters told Radio Dabanga that a gold extraction company has obtained a license from the state authorities. It delivered machines for the factory, planned in Um Gozein, 30 kilometres north of El Naim, on Tuesday.

"The factory uses toxic cyanide which is harmful to human health, animals, and the environment," the protester said. "The local administrative director acknowledged the company's approval to us, but denied its using cyanide."

Cyanidation, a technique for extracting gold, is the most commonly used process for gold extraction. The process is controversial because of the highly toxic nature of cyanide.

"We are dissatisfied with the actions of the government authorities, which concern the safety of the people and the environment. We have given the authorities a period of 72 hours, starting Wednesday, to cancel the approval," the protester said.

A witness told Radio Dabanga that factory workers also brought work equipment to Um Gozein on Tuesday, including cyanide which had been stored in the centre of the village market for a while - "without proper safety measures".

The factory north of El Naim started operating three months ago, after it previously operated in South Kordofan. The company was expelled there.

In the first months of this year popular actions against the use of toxic substances in gold mining sites in northern Sudan and in South and North Kordofan grew stronger. In end March, angry residents of Talodi in South Kordofan set fire to the El Tagola gold extraction plant.

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