The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo said a toxic waste leak at a mine in neighboring Angola partly owned by the world’s largest diamond miner has 12 . murdered people and sickened thousands in the Central African country, raising concerns over pollution increases in an industry often active in hard- place in keep an eye out.
Congos environment minister, Eve Bazaiba, told reporters on Thursday it would look for compensation from Angola for the damage caused because of the leakage in the Catoca mine, in die on the list of Moscow
PJSC has a 41% stake.
Society Mineira de Catoca, die runs the mine, said Saturday that the… leak contained only natural sand and clay and no toxic metals of chemicals.
Located about 170 miles south of Angola’s Northern Border with Congo, Catoca is one of the worldlargest diamond mines, accounting for 6% of global production and 75% of Exit from Angola.
The mining industry has struggled for a long time with the dangers of tailings dams, die collecting waste materials from the mining process. In recent years, several major collapses have resulted in deaths and pollution, including: in 2019, when the Brumadinho dam in Brazil burst and killed 270 people.
Experts in mining accidents said that, while Catoca’s leak was serious, it was unclear of the of other Angolan diamond mines were responsible for all damage die mentioned by the Congolese authorities. An key issue, they said, is that the owners of the mine and the Angolan government have mainly declined to over to talk about the accident.
In addition to the 12 dead, the Congolese government has recorded some 4,500 cases of diarrhea and skin-related illnesses, Ms. Bazaiba said. Satellite images of those affected region show the local Tshikapa river turned red and local officials said they saw thousands of dead fish and other animals floating in its waters.
In a statement dated August 9, but die did not become public until last week, Sociedade Mineira de Catoca said it was a leak from a pond in which mining waste is collected, also known as tailings, on July 27. It said that the… leak Has been fixed and it provided food parcels to local communities, but the resulting pollution was not life-threatening.
In Saturday’s statement, the company said the leak’s content was like mudslides in Angola’s rainy season.
In response to questions from The Wall Street Journal, Alrosa said on Friday that it had offered support and expertise to remedy the consequences of the spill at Catoca. “ALROSA as a responsible minority shareholder of Catoca, an Angolan diamond miner, is committed in to more transparency”, says declining to answer further questions.
Angola’s mining ministry and staterun diamond mining company, Endiama EP, that also owns a 41% stake in Catoca, did not respond to requests for comment.
Tailings experts said it was hard to know the scale of the disaster in catoca. “Based” on the size of the dam to which it is in state is cause a very consistent failure,” said Lindsay Newland Bowker, an environmentalrisk manager in Maine who studies accidents at mine dams.
However, some experts, including Ms Bowker, said there were questions over of all the pollution cited by the Congolese government used to be caused by Catoca and not by other nearby diamond mines, as well as the exact timing of the leak at the Angolan mine. Congolese Satellite Imagery already show pollution reaches the Tshikapa River al in July 15-12 days before Catoca says the first identified the leak—while the flow of the pollution suggests it may be related met other mines, said Mrs Bowker.
She said a separate set of satellite images meanwhile indicate that the leak at Catoca may already happened around July 24, with pollution in Lova River in Angola is running more than 60 miles downstream. The Lova River flows in the Tshikapa.
Water from tailings dams at diamond mines can be acidic, allowing it to dissolve heavy metals such as copper and zinc. deadly when intoxicated by humans and animals, said Gavin Mudd, an environmental engineer professor in Australia.
But Mr Mudd said the dangers would usually be close to the source of the spill, in rather than much further downstream. In addition, the soil can sometimes contain alkaline, which can balance out the sour nature of the water. It remains unclear of this is the case for catoka.
Raphael Tshimanga, de head of the Congo Basin Water Resources Research Center at the university of Kinshasa, die first sounded the alarm over the pollution in the Tshikapa and another local river, said his team had identified two other mining sites in Angola die release pollutants.
“At the moment we do not know the nature of pollutants, but what we know is that they are highly concentrated,” said Mr. tshimanga. “This is bad scary, the entire region of Kasai has been exposed.” Independent researchers have not been allowed to monsters to collect in mines, he said.
the Congolese environment ministry did not respond to questions on what caused the 12 dead and of the possible had explored other sources of the pollution.
—Alexandra Wexler and Christine Tshibuyi contributed to this article.
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