POLLUTION – Ivory Coast: 185 people poisoned after mining pollution in a river.

Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Monday, July 08, 2024

Nearly 200 people were “slightly poisoned” in Côte d’Ivoire after eating fish from a river polluted by leaking cyanide decantation water from a gold mine at the end of June, the authorities said on Tuesday.
The mine is the Ity gold mine in the Zouan-Hounien area (west), operated by the Canadian group Endeavour Mining, which on Tuesday denied any “endangerment” of the population.
According to the Ivorian Ministry of the Environment, analyses revealed that the pollution was caused by the “rupture of a valve” in a pipe carrying “cyanide muddy decantation water” from the mine’s operations.
These waters reached an adjacent river before ending up in the Cavally River, the Ministry continued in a statement on Tuesday evening, causing “vomiting and headaches” for riverside populations and “a massive fish kill”.
This river, an important resource for the region’s inhabitants, runs for several hundred kilometers along western Côte d’Ivoire.
“185 patients were slightly intoxicated”, reporting “bloating and vomiting” at the Ouyatouo village health center where they were treated, explained Zouan-Hounien prefect Moussa Dao.

According to Célestin Balla, a traditional chief from Ouyatouo, who was interviewed, “every day since the incident” people who had consumed the water and fish “have shown signs of diarrhea, headaches and aches”.
Both the Ministry and the Prefect have confirmed that no deaths have been reported.
“To date, the source of the pollution has been brought under control by the mining company, which has undertaken to supply the local population with drinking water as soon as possible, pending total decontamination of the water, which is currently underway”, continued the Ministry.
In a statement sent to AFP on Tuesday, Endeavour Mining “categorically rejects the allegations of massive pollution of the Cavally River and endangerment of local populations”.
However, the group acknowledges that an incident involving a “faulty valve” led to “a leak of around 3 cubic meters of sludge and decantation water into the site’s bypass canal”, “a small part of which could have been discharged into the Cavally River”. In a statement on Sunday, Endeavour claimed that the liquid had reached the river.
Endeavour claims to have replaced the faulty valves and “monitored and tested” the river water to ensure that there is “no contamination”.
The authorities have urged people to refrain from eating the fish and drinking the river water until further notice.

Humaniterre with AFP –

AFP Archive photo of the Cavally river for illustration purposes



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