Rivers near Congo copper and cobalt mines are toxic – report

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The stream waters adjacent immoderate of nan Democratic Republic of Congo’s largest copper and cobalt mines are toxic, according to a caller report by RAID and DRC-based African Resources Watch.

The UK firm watchdog recovered that residents successful nan visited communities expressed concerns astir nan harmful effects of toxic contamination connected their wellness and nan destructive consequences connected section ecosystems and agriculture.

Residents reported a scarcity of cleanable h2o for drinking and individual hygiene, forcing them to usage contaminated h2o for their regular needs. Of those interviewed, 56% stated that nan contamination was impacting nan gynecological and reproductive wellness of women and girls, starring to issues specified arsenic irregular menstruation, urogenital infections, much predominant miscarriages, and, successful immoderate cases, commencement defects.

Locals reported predominant tegument diseases and expressed peculiar interest for nan wellness of their children.

Nearly each respondents (99%) reported important reductions successful harvest and section yields owed to h2o contamination, resulting successful important economical hardships. Additionally, 59% indicated reducing their nutrient intake to 1 repast a day, 59% had to retreat their children from schoolhouse owed to financial constraints, and 75% stated they could nary longer spend healthcare aliases medicine.

Source: RAID

“The world needs Congo’s cobalt to deed nett zero targets, but nan power modulation is not benefitting hundreds of thousands of Congolese group surviving successful nan protector of nan large business cobalt mines,” Emmanuel Umpula, executive head astatine African Resources Watch, said successful a statement.

Anneke Van Woudenberg, executive head of RAID, emphasized nan value of ensuring cleanable cobalt sourcing and holding mining companies accountable for biology damages. She urged electrical conveyance companies to request responsible practices from their cobalt suppliers.

Congo’s miners usage immense amounts of acerb to process ore into copper and cobalt. Under nan country’s mining law, companies are expected to forestall toxic wastewater from contaminating groundwater aliases section waterways.

The state overtook Peru to go nan second-largest copper shaper successful 2023 and provides astir 70% of nan world’s cobalt.

Mining companies specified arsenic Glencore Plc, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), Zijin Mining Group and CMOC Group acknowledged nan historical contamination from older mines and different activities contributing to nan h2o contamination. They highlighted measures taken to mitigate contamination risks, including monitoring h2o value and implementing preventive measures.

Glencore wrote that it monitors h2o value astatine its operations successful statement pinch some Congolese regulations and world champion practices.

CMOC said it’s committed to complying pinch biology laws, and that nan institution regularly monitors aboveground water, groundwater and drinking water.

ERG said its cognition doesn’t discharge into rivers, while its monitoring shows nary pollution. Zijin, successful its consequence to questions from researchers, said it regularly tests h2o value and has implemented measures to forestall seepage of acerb and alkali wastewater from its operations.

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