- Environmental issues are mounting because the Nigerian Nationwide Petroleum Firm begins drilling for oil in a brand new subject within the north of the nation.
- Video testimony has emerged about alleged police killings of 5 villagers close to Canadian miner Barrick Gold’s mine in Tanzania.
- A neighborhood official has absconded with $14.5 million in mining royalties meant to fund neighborhood improvement within the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Lualaba province.
- Aspect Africa is Mongabay’s bi-weekly bulletin rounding up transient tales from the commodities trade in Africa.
Nigeria’s new oil frontier places communities in danger, campaigners warn
Nigeria’s state-owned oil firm began drilling for oil and fuel at a subject within the Kolmani River within the nation’s northeast in November. Environmentalists warn that the undertaking will expose communities and the surroundings to hurt much like what six many years of oil exploitation have brought about within the Niger Delta.
The Nigerian Nationwide Petroleum Firm (NNPC) first introduced the invention of crude oil, fuel and condensate in industrial amount in Kolmani in 2019. President Muhammadu Buhari mentioned the sector has 1 billion barrels of oil reserves and 500 billion cubic toes of fuel.
The governor of Gombe state has nevertheless pledged to keep away from the “errors of the Niger Delta,” the place many years of oil and fuel exploration by multinationals have severely broken the surroundings and destroyed livelihoods. Governor Inuwa Yahaya has promised each a job for native companies within the worth chain and transparency that can defend communities and the surroundings.
“With regard to the problem of the surroundings, our [state] ministry of surroundings is working hand in hand with the Federal Ministry of Surroundings and the Nigerian Nationwide Petroleum Company Restricted so that we’ll keep away from all of the errors and pitfalls which were the large problem of oil exploration and implementation within the southern a part of the nation,” he mentioned.
However the federal authorities, which has closing duty for mineral extraction, has not revealed an environmental influence evaluation of the Kolmani undertaking as required by legislation.
Chima Williams, government director at Environmental Rights Motion/Buddies of the Earth Nigeria, mentioned the group was investigating points surrounding the brand new undertaking and could be demanding full disclosure of influence evaluation from the federal government.
“If there isn’t any influence evaluation, how do you perceive the probably issues, and the mitigation measures to sort out them?” he mentioned.
Environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey of the Well being of Mom Earth Basis rejected the suggestion that the NNPC can extract oil with out damaging the surroundings.
“It’s inaccurate to counsel that the ‘errors’ of the Niger Delta will be averted. That will likely be wishful pondering,” he mentioned. “The guarantees are all the time the identical and the shocks of disappointment would be the identical. We have now seen this throughout Africa and people celebrating the discover are enjoying fossil politics.”
Niger Delta mangroves in ‘grave hazard’ from oil spills, poverty, invasive species
Barrick Gold faces lawsuit over lethal police violence at Tanzanian mine
A plaintiff in a lawsuit launched in November by Tanzanian mining-affected communities towards Canada’s Barrick Gold Company has spoken out towards the killing of her son, allegedly by mine-funded police.
On Dec. 1, Rights and Accountability in Improvement (RAID), a U.Ok.-based charity that holds world companies to account for human rights abuses, launched a video during which a resident of one of many villages close to Barrick’s North Mara mine describes in search of her son following an evening of violent police exercise close to the mine.
“Within the morning we had been calling his cellphone however it was simply ringing, so we began asking neighbors the place my son was as a result of we had heard bombs and photographs that evening,” says a lady recognized solely as Mariam to guard her from doable retaliation. “We had been advised there was some taking pictures — we went to the realm and noticed a variety of blood.”
She says she later discovered her son’s physique on the morgue. “The mine has introduced a variety of dangerous practices. Police shoot and kill folks or completely injure them.”
RAID director Anneke Van Woudenberg says Barrick has signed an settlement with the Tanzania police to pay, equip, feed and home roughly 150 cops who function across the North Mara mine.
Barrick Gold’s chief government officer, Mark Bristow, has beforehand denied any involvement by the corporate within the police abuses. “North Mara Gold Mine Restricted doesn’t supervise, direct or management any mission, project or perform of the Tanzanian Police Drive. The Tanzanian Police Drive operates underneath its personal chain of command and makes its personal selections on technique,” he wrote in a February 2022 letter to RAID.
Mariam and 21 different members of the Indigenous Kurya neighborhood within the space across the mine have filed a declare for compensation for 5 deaths since Barrick Gold took management of the North Mara mine in September 2019, in addition to alleged incidents of torture by the hands of police.
Funds for neighborhood improvement disappear in DRC’s Lualaba
Native media within the Democratic Republic of Congo are reporting that the chief accountant of an space close to the southeastern city of Kolwezi has vanished together with $14.5 million in mining royalties.
Based on stories, the official recurrently withdrew substantial quantities of cash from an account holding royalties which might be paid to the state by mining firms. The funds are meant to finance tasks supporting communities affected by the mining trade on this a part of Lualaba province.
The misappropriation was uncovered by an area civil society organisation, Luwanzo lwa Mikuba, which additionally famous that the pinnacle of the Kolwezi sector didn’t denounce the disappearance of his colleague, whom he himself had despatched to the financial institution to withdraw cash.
On the identical time, the Common Inspectorate of Finance found different embezzlements totaling greater than $400 million throughout Lualaba province between 2018 and 2021, in response to different sources.
“The spirit of the mining code is that these funds needs to be allotted to neighborhood improvement,” says Donat Mpiana, a human rights activist with the NGO ACIDH (whose acronym in French interprets into “Motion towards Impunity and for Human Rights”). “However it’s unhappy to see that this has not occurred. As a substitute, these funds are used for different issues.”
Mining royalties, in response to Congolese mining legislation, are presupposed to fund quick-impact tasks that profit the inhabitants. This consists of the development of roads, hospitals, faculties and water infrastructure. These social items are missing in lots of rural areas.
In 2014-2015, an acidic water retention pond at Mutanda Mining, 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Kolwezi, spilled into the Kando River. In 2017, in response to the NGO Afrewatch, acid leaks from the identical mining firm contaminated residents’ fields in Lualaba-Centre and Kindu.
On the finish of November, President Félix Tshisekedi appointed new leaders for native governments on the sector and commune ranges. Due to suspicions of misappropriation, the Inspectorate Common of Finance has requested that remittances and recoveries be delayed to permit an audit of public accounts.
Ini Ekott, Didier Makal, and Anna Majavu contributed to this bulletin.
Banner picture: Tanzanian police officer guarding the North Mara mine waste dump. Picture courtesy Catherine Coumans / Mining Watch Canada. (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
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