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Congo- Brazzaville: Gold Exploitation and Sangha on the Brink of an Ecological Disaster

Flooded forests and plumes of water polluted by mining activity in a village called Zoulabouth. Image by Marien Nzikou-Massala / @eraenvironnement. Democratic Republic of the Congo-Brazzaville, 2020. 

Flooded forests and plumes of water polluted by mining activity in a village called Zoulabouth. Image by Marien Nzikou-Massala / @eraenvironnement. Democratic Republic of the Congo-Brazzaville, 2020. 

In the Republic of the Congo, the department called Sangha is located more than 800 kilometers north of the capital, Brazzaville. Over the past 10 years, it has become an "El Dorado" for Chinese mining companies. This gold rush is putting the enforcement of Congo-Brazzaville's mining code and community rights to the test, with consequences including diminishing forest cover and degraded water quality, and land-grabbing from traditional populations in surrounding villages.

"We don't have any streams left to get drinking water. These Chinese companies use mercury for gold mining and no measures are taken to protect the survival of the people in our villages. Communities are forced to walk five to six kilometers in the forest in order to find water to drink," says Michel Dogom, village chief in Zoulabouth, with a tone of desperation.

To read the full story in French, visit InfoCongo's website.

Au Congo Brazzaville, le département de la Sangha à plus de 800 kilomètres au nord de Brazzaville est devenu un eldorado des sociétés d’exploitation minière (chinoises) depuis 10 ans. Cette ruée vers l’orpaillage met à rude épreuve l’application du code minier et le droit des communautés avec pour conséquences la détérioration du couvert forestier et des cours d’eau, accaparement des terres des populations autochtones des villages environnants.« Nous n’avons plus de ruisseaux où prendre l’eau à boire. Ces sociétés chinoises utilisent le mercure pour l’extraction de l’or et aucune mesure n’a été prise pour la survie des habitants de nos villages. Les communautés sont obligées de parcourir cinq à six kilomètres en forêt pour avoir de l’eau à boire », lâche d’un ton désespéré Michel Dogom, chef de village de Zoulabouth.

Zoulabouth. Image by Marien Nzikou-Massala / @eraenvironnement. Democratic Republic of the Congo-Brazzaville, 2020.

Zoulabouth. Image by Marien Nzikou-Massala / @eraenvironnement. Democratic Republic of the Congo-Brazzaville, 2020.

Image by Marien Nzikou-Massala / @eraenvironnement. Democratic Republic of the Congo-Brazzaville, 2020.

Image by Marien Nzikou-Massala / @eraenvironnement. Democratic Republic of the Congo-Brazzaville, 2020.

Image by Marien Nzikou-Massala / @eraenvironnement. Democratic Republic of the Congo-Brazzaville, 2020.

Image by Marien Nzikou-Massala / @eraenvironnement. Democratic Republic of the Congo-Brazzaville, 2020.