One small-scale miner was killed and 4 injured as safety forces moved to evict them from a concession held by Ghana’s Golden Star Resources.ExxonMobil’s plan to exit from onshore oil manufacturing within the Niger Delta is successfully an try to flee from its poisonous legacy within the area, communities say.Plans to frack for gasoline in South Africa could have devastating environmental impacts and can’t kind a part of a simply transition to cleaner vitality sources, an advocacy group says.Element Africa is Mongabay’s bi-weekly bulletin rounding up temporary tales from the commodities trade in Africa.
One lifeless, 4 injured as Ghana gold miner strikes to evict artisanal miners
BENSO, Ghana — Police killed one particular person and injured 4 others whereas trying to clear trespassing miners from the Wassa gold mine at Benso in Ghana’s Western area. The proprietor of the mine, Golden Star Resources, says small-scale miners who’ve encroached on an deserted a part of its concession space have been impeding its operations.
Golden Star started working at Benso in 2009, however suspended mining exercise in 2012 as the worth of gold declined. The firm returned to the positioning in 2022, however throughout the decade the mine was inactive, some Benso residents had begun artisanal mining for gold within the deserted pit. Others planted cocoa timber contained in the 500-meter (1,640-foot) buffer zone that surrounds the concession.
When it resumed operations final 12 months, the corporate held a public assembly with the neighborhood, warning the small-scale miners to cease trespassing and interfering with Golden Star’s operations. But Frank Afful, a member of the Benso city council, mentioned locals nonetheless proceed to dig for gold on the Wassa mine.
“The space is a safety zone, so individuals are not imagined to go there, however these unlawful miners go there to mine,” he advised Mongabay, “and the corporate have warned them numerous instances they wouldn’t hear and are nonetheless mining.”
On the morning of March 23, Golden Star’s safety guards, accompanied by police, tried to clear unlawful miners from the positioning in order that blasting operations might happen. The miners resisted and within the violence that adopted, 4 miners have been injured and police say they by accident shot and killed 21-year-old Mohammed Yaro.
Abandoned pit at Benso gold mine: small-scale miners moved onto the Wassa concession after it was shut down in 2012. Image courtesy Desmond Cudjoe.
According to the mine’s company affairs supervisor, Gerard Boakye, the miners who had been violently pushed off returned to Golden Star’s premises later that day, accompanied by greater than 100 different neighborhood members, and set fireplace to eight vans, an excavator, gasoline tankers and dozens of different autos, together with a company-owned ambulance that has served each the neighborhood and firm employees.
They additionally set fireplace to the corporate’s workplaces; its workers fled the positioning. Golden Star has suspended its operations and police are investigating the incident.
‘Toxic legacy’ in Nigerian neighborhood as ExxonMobil plans exit
IBENO, Nigeria — As oil big ExxonMobil prepares to promote its onshore and shallow-water property in Nigeria to a neighborhood agency, individuals dwelling in its manufacturing areas say the oil main is abandoning a devastated surroundings and refusing to barter and remediate polluted soil and waterways.
In February 2022, ExxonMobil introduced it was promoting 300 oil wells and 90 shallow-water and onshore platforms to a Nigerian agency, Seplat Energy, for $1.3 billion. ExxonMobil mentioned it’s going to now concentrate on deep-water operations.
In the southeastern state of Akwa Ibom, ExxonMobil’s operational base in Nigeria since 1961, residents say the corporate has not resolved a number of spill-related compensation and remediation claims in Ibeno, a fishing city close to the Atlantic Ocean. Decades of oil manufacturing there have contaminated land and water, making it tough for locals to fish or farm.
“Since they introduced the sale, we’ve despatched many letters and petitions, however Mobil has not answered,” Godwin Efanga, president of the city council of Upenekang, Ibeno’s essential neighborhood, advised Mongabay.
“They need to depart after damaging the surroundings with out compensation.”
Between 2010 and 2021, main transnational oil firms have accomplished 26 vital gross sales, retaining pursuits solely in deep-water manufacturing or leaving the nation completely, based on the Stakeholder Democracy Network, a nonprofit specializing in the influence of the extractives trade within the Niger Delta.
The firms say they’re divesting in favor of cleaner vitality and due to safety considerations in some areas. But the democracy group says the companies have additionally been unsettled by latest circumstances wherein affected communities efficiently sued firms for injury to the Niger Delta in U.Ok. and Dutch courts.
An oil spill within the Niger Delta. Communities right here say transnational firms are promoting off their property with out taking accountability for environmental injury they’ve brought about. Image by Friends of the Earth by way of Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari withdrew an preliminary approval of the ExxonMobil sale following a protest by state-oil firm NNPC, which argued it had first proper to purchase the property. In February this 12 months, Seplat mentioned it was assured it will conclude the transaction earlier than Buhari leaves workplace in May.
A brand new petroleum trade legislation enacted in 2021 requires oil firms abandoning their property to arrange a “decommissioning fund.” At a March 22 occasion calling consideration to air pollution within the space, representatives of Ibeno mentioned ExxonMobil has not executed this. They additionally mentioned the oil big has not performed a complete audit of impacts of its operations within the space.
ExxonMobil spokesperson Oge Udeagha, didn’t reply to requests for feedback after initially asking for inquiries to be despatched by way of textual content message.
“Communities like Ibeno complain that they weren’t consulted when ExxonMobil began oil exploitation of their communities. They now really feel insulted and abused by the identical company divesting with none stage of session or communication with them,” mentioned Nnimmo Bassey of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation.
“They see the corporate as making an attempt to foist a poisonous legacy on them and shrug off their responsibly to remediate, restore the polluted environments and make do reparations.”
Corporate earnings derailing South Africa’s ‘simply transition,’ group says
JOHANNESBURG — A South African environmental justice group warns that fracking and drilling into coal beds to extract gasoline could have devastating environmental impacts and can’t kind a part of a simply transition to cleaner vitality sources.
Afro Energy, a neighborhood subsidiary of Australian gasoline explorer Kinetiko Energy, has developed 30 pilot wells within the Amersfoort space of South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, the place it intends to frack for coal mattress methane. The firm has exploration rights overlaying 7,000 sq. kilometers (2,700 sq. miles) of the province, and has claimed that the gasoline sources beneath that land might be as a lot as 4.9 trillion cubic ft.
But talking on the March 24 launch of a report analyzing South Africa’s vitality transition, environmental justice group groundWork mentioned drilling into coal beds seeking gasoline solely prolongs the usage of polluting fossil fuels and poses a critical menace to water provides. The report additionally questioned claims from one other firm, Rhino Resources, that it was searching for a license to drill wells for helium and biogenic methane in South Africa’s central Free State province. (Biogenic methane, a potent greenhouse gasoline, is produced by decomposition of natural materials presently within the life cycle, however the firm’s purposes don’t point out the place something apart from coal mattress methane — including carbon that has been locked beneath the earth for lots of of 1000’s of years — is perhaps discovered.)
Arnot energy station, Middelburg: environmental justice advocates warn in opposition to makes an attempt to increase the lifetime of coal sources in Mpumalanga province underneath cowl of a transition to cleaner vitality.. Image by Gerhard Roux by way of Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Bobby Peek, groundWork’s director, mentioned reorienting South Africa’s financial system away from coal towards cleaner alternate options dangers being derailed by firms searching for earnings.
“Every established company is embracing the method. But so are very many ‘fly-by-nights’ that search to climb into the Mpumalanga house to supply options that may make them a buck off the promise of a brand new tomorrow for the neighborhood.”
GroundWork’s report says plans for enlargement of gasoline manufacturing have to be resisted and warns that if the simply transition is wholly profit-driven, a shift away from coal in locations like Mpumalanga will exclude peculiar individuals. The environmental justice group recommends that communities arrange their very own initiatives to develop meals and produce vitality in a bid to grow to be self-sufficient.
Mabel Adorkor Annang, Anna Majavu, and Ini Ekott contributed to this report.
Mechanization of unlawful gold mining threatens Ghana’s forests
Banner picture: A burnt truck at Golden Star’s Wassa mine, in Ghana’s West area. Image courtesy Desmond Cudjoe.
Community Development, Conflict, Conservation, Environment, Environmental Crime, environmental justice, Environmental Law, Environmental Politics, Gold Mining, Governance, Government, Land Conflict, Law, Mining, NGOs, Oil, Oil Drilling, Oil Spills, Politics, Pollution, Social Justice, Water Pollution