Governor of eastern Congo’s gold-rich province bans mining activities to ‘restore order’ (Associated Press – July 19, 2024)

https://apnews.com/

The governor of the South Kivu province in eastern Congo on Friday ordered the suspension of all mining activities to “restore order” in the mineral-rich region, which is plagued by violence from armed groups.

Mining activities are suspended until further notice because of “the disorder caused by mining operators,” Gov. Jean-Jacques Purusi Sadiki said in a statement, without providing further details.

Read more

African countries must make their voices heard on deep-sea mining – by Rashid Sumaila (Al Jazeera – July 19, 2024)

https://www.aljazeera.com/

Africa stands at a pivotal moment where its decisions could profoundly influence the trajectory of the industry and the preservation of marine ecosystems.

With negotiations to adopt rules and regulations for commercial deep-sea mining in international waters resuming this week at the International Seabed Authority (ISA), African countries have an extremely important role to play in the future of this industry and the health of our ocean.

ISA, as a UN-affiliated institution, was established in the 1990s to ensure that developing countries would benefit financially from deep-sea mining when/if it starts, ensuring equity in the benefits derived from global commons. As this debate progresses, Africa stands at a pivotal moment where its decisions could profoundly influence the trajectory of this industry and the preservation of marine ecosystems.

Read more

Turkey Top Envoy Goes to Niger in Bid to Secure Uranium Supplies – by Selcan Hacaoglu (Bloomberg News – July 17, 2024)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Turkey’s foreign, defense and energy ministers visited Niger on Wednesday to secure access to the West African nation’s rich uranium deposits.

The delegation, which is led by Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and includes top spy chief Ibrahim Kalin, wants to tap Nigerien supplies of the fissile mineral to fuel Turkey’s nascent nuclear-power industry, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified as they’re not authorized to speak to the media.

Read more

‘We now face guns’: Small-scale miners fear Wagner’s advances in CAR – by Philip Obaji Jr. (Al Jazeera – July 10, 2024)

https://www.aljazeera.com/

Local miners in the Central African Republic face eviction and violence as the Russian group takes over gold and diamond mines.

Beloko, Central African Republic – When Sadock arrived in the northwestern Central African Republic (CAR) town of Koki in November 2022, he thought he had finally found a safe place to live and work. For years, small-scale miners like him have been displaced and forced to relocate over and over again whenever foreigners entered a local area, seized surrounding gold mines and evicted local miners.

“Some of us [artisanal miners] decided to move to Koki because we thought at the time that no one was disturbing artisanal miners in the [northwest] region,” Sadock, who wanted to be identified by only his first name for fear of retribution, told Al Jazeera.

Read more

Madagascar: for better or for sapphire – by Lola Fourmy and Martin Huré (Equal Times – July 12, 2024)

https://www.equaltimes.org/

Madagascar is the fifth poorest country in the world, yet it accounts for almost 40 per cent of global production of one of the most sought-after precious stones: sapphire. Several deposits discovered in 1998 in the south of the country continue to attract miners and buyers. These stones are prized by investors as “safe haven” assets, and the emergence of the middle classes in China and India has sent the prices soaring.

The mines in the south of the island are the scene of outdated working conditions and proven cases of child labour, and violent crime is plaguing the region. French journalists Lola Fourmy and Martin Huré take us on a journey to the heart of dreams of economic emancipation that, for many Malagasy people, has turned into a nightmare.

Read more

OPINION: To stop the violence in Congo, we need to end the black market for the minerals in our phones – by Robert Rotberg (Globe and Mail – July 12, 2024)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Robert Rotberg is the founding director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s program on intrastate conflict, a former senior fellow at CIGI and president emeritus of the World Peace Foundation.

Africa has more than its fair share of horrendous humanitarian emergencies. Today, half of Sudan’s 47 million people are experiencing severe hunger; 755,000 face starvation. Somalis and northern Ethiopians are also food-short, as are many millions of Malawians, Zambians and Zimbabweans. However, after Sudan, the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the neediest region. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), a staggering 23.4 million Congolese suffer from severe hunger.

The peoples of the three eastern Congolese provinces of South Kivu, North Kivu and Ituri are especially endangered. In North Kivu alone, the WFP says that 720,000 people have lost their homes and livelihoods due to regional violence. It estimates that nearly 3 million children in the region are acutely malnourished. Cholera is rife, too, and epidemics of Ebola recur.

Read more

GoviEx Uranium has mining licence in Niger revoked, shares plummet – by Staff (Mining.com – July 4, 2024)

https://www.mining.com/

GoviEx Uranium (TSXV: GXU) no longer has rights over the perimeter of the Madaouela mining permit following the Niger government’s decision on Thursday to withdraw its licence, dealing a big blow to the development of one of the world’s largest uranium projects.

The Vancouver-based uranium miner had feared that its licence could be revoked if mining could not start by July 3, 2024, a deadline set by Niger’s military leaders who came into power around this time last year.

Read more

U.S. Nuclear Fears as Iran Targets African Uranium – by Hugh Cameron (Newsweek Magazine – July 2, 2024)

https://www.newsweek.com/

Iran is trying to source uranium from West Africa, signaling a further expansion of the nuclear program that has long rattled states in the West.

Despite continued scrutiny and multiple efforts at curtailment, Iran still hosts one of the most advanced nuclear programs in the world, and reports have emerged that the country’s weapons program is gaining steam. One expert told Newsweek that, while the country has not definitively begun weaponizing its nuclear capabilities, continued attempts to boost its enriched stockpile should raise concern.

Read more

Can Niger’s military junta seize the country’s uranium opportunity? – by Jason Mitchell (BNE Intellinews – July 2, 2024)

https://www.intellinews.com/

Niger — one of the world’s poorest countries — could become considerably wealthier if its uranium resources were fully exploited, but political instability is hampering its development.

The land-locked country’s uranium resources total 311,000 metric tonnes (mt), the third highest in Africa after Namibia (470,000 mt) and South Africa (320,000 mt), according to Statista. It has the continent’s highest-grade uranium ores. In 2022, it produced 2,020 mt of uranium, down from 2,991 mt in 2020, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA).

Read more

Beyond Prince Harry: Securing Botswana’s Diamond Legacy – by Joshua Freedman (Rapaport Magazine – June 27, 2024)

Home

Tourism could be central to the country’s post-mining plans, says Debswana executive.

What connects Prince Harry and Kim Kardashian? Probably quite a lot of things, but among them is that they have both been to Botswana.

Harry famously vacationed with Meghan Markle in the southern African country, while Kardashian has visited the Jwaneng diamond mine. The latter might not have been the most glamorous place in which the celebrity has set foot: Jwaneng, like most diamond mines, is a massive pit in the ground.

Read more

Up to 4,000 Rwandan troops have entered combat in eastern Congo, UN report says – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – June 25, 2024)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

As many as 4,000 Rwandan troops with high-tech weaponry have secretly crossed the border into eastern Congo to fight battles that have fuelled a vast humanitarian catastrophe across the region, a new United Nations report says.

The fighting, causing heavy casualties with indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas, has forced at least a million people to flee their homes in the past nine months, many of them now surviving in one of the more than 100 overcrowded camps for displaced people around the besieged city of Goma, near the border with Rwanda, the report says.

Read more

Investing in Africa’s Copperbelt – The Race for EV Metals (Gulf Africa Review – June 21, 2024)

Homepage

U.S., Japanese, and European companies are investing in Africa’s Copperbelt, employing cutting-edge technology to extract essential electric vehicle metals like copper and cobalt.

The global demand for electric vehicle (EV) metals has spurred a surge in investments in Africa’s Copperbelt, a region straddling Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Companies from the U.S., Japan, and Europe are increasingly leveraging advanced technologies to identify and extract critical minerals such as copper and cobalt, challenging China’s dominance in the region.

Read more

Niger revokes French nuclear group’s licence at major uranium mine (Al Jazeera – June 21, 2024)

https://www.aljazeera.com/

Removal of Orano licence highlights tensions with France, with Russia said to be eyeing the major site.

Niger’s military government has revoked the operating licence of French nuclear fuel producer Orano at one of the world’s biggest uranium mines, as it continues to cut ties with former colonial power France.

State-owned Orano said on Thursday that it had been ordered out of the Imouraren mine in northern Niger which sits on an estimated 200,000 tonnes of the metal, used for nuclear power and weapons.

Read more

London bullion market drops bid to block U.K. trial over allegations against Barrick mine – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – June 17, 2024)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

London’s bullion market association is abandoning a jurisdictional challenge to a lawsuit by Tanzanian claimants, setting the stage for a British trial into allegations that the association is wrongly giving human-rights clearance to gold products from Barrick Gold Corp.’s controversial North Mara mine.

The lawsuit was filed in London in 2022 by relatives of two Tanzanian men allegedly killed by security forces at the North Mara gold mine, but the jurisdictional argument had delayed the trial for nearly a year.

Read more

Sanctions on Russian diamonds: Good or bad for Africa? – by Chrispin Mwakideu (DW.com – June 19, 2024)

https://www.dw.com/en/

Diamond-rich African nations are ramping up production to fill the gap left by the G7 sanctions on Russian diamonds. But not all countries are happy about the ban.

Earlier this year, the G7 , a group of wealthy nations comprising the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Japan, and the European Union banned rough diamonds mined in Russia.The ban was part of many sanctions on Russia imposed by Western nations and their allies for President Vladimir Putin’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

But the sanctions against Russian diamonds, intended to weaken Russia’s economy in light of its aggression, could pose a potential risk to the global diamond market’s stability.

Read more