Environmental & Health Impacts of Abandoned Mines in Sub-Saharan African Countries

UNESCO-International Union for Geological Sciences (IUGS), International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) and SIDA, are supporting research on the environmental and health impact of mining activities in Sub-Saharan African countries with a special focus on abandoned mines. The findings of this research will serve as science-based evidences for proper educational and outreach activities towards communities and will support the development of appropriate legislation and accountable enforcement measures. 

Throughout 2014, teams of multidisciplinary scientists’ surveyed ten (10) abandoned mine sites in various countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo Democratic, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Zambia) to analyze the heavy metals content in soil, surface and underground water, vegetation and crops. The conducted field work also combined educational and awareness campaigns towards communities of artisanal miners and local authorities. The project is still at its early stage, but there are important demands from many countries. Therefore, UNESCO is expanding the project to cover more countries and various other types of mines with the financial support provided by SIDA (2014-2017).

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