Diamond mining results in environmental disaster
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Author:  Barbra Voltaire, FGG [ Thu Nov 03, 2022 12:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Diamond mining results in environmental disaster

Article by Paolo Minieri, published on IGR – Rivista Italiana di Gemmologia #14, Spring 2022 wrote:
Diamond mining in northern Angola results in environmental disaster in southern Congo
In July 2021, a tributary of the Congo River changes its color in the Kwilu region. The death toll is 12. Thousands of other people get very sick from gastrointestinal disorder and diarrhea. A sudden fish die-off. Agonizing hippos float to the surface. Water consumption is banned by authorities. Under accusation, the Angolan Catoca diamond company, located a few hundred kilometers further south, first denies but then a leak from the separation plant to the river network is admitted, though consisting of clay rocks only and not involving any heavy metals, according to the miner. However, the disaster certainly originated in North Angola where diamond mining is the only industrial activity. As Congo (DRC) launches a hydroelectric megaproject to boost mineral extraction the question is: can gem mining threaten the environmental balance? Certainly it can, as evidenced by the case IGR has highlighted.
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From the perspective of physical geography, the northern Angolan province of Lunda (Norte e Sul) and the southern Congolese province of Kasai are neighboring territories sharing common characteristics, such as wet and dry savannas but primarily a complex catchment area made of Congo River tributaries. The Tshikapa, Chicapa in Portuguese, is a tributary of the Kasai river which originates in the region of Lunda Sul, crosses Angola to the North and defines the border with Congo (DRC) for about 40 km. It ends up in the Congolese Kasai territory...

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