thousands of people at risk in Lubumbashi due to CDM mining activities

A truck in a mine in Lubumbashi, south-eastern DRC (February 2014).

A truck in a mine in Lubumbashi, south-eastern DRC (February 2014).

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), approximately 30,000 people living in three districts of the city of Lubumbashi are affected by the mining activities of the Congo Dongfang Mining (CDM) company. This Chinese company dumps huge quantities of wastewater in the Kasapa, Kamatete and Kamisepe districts, causing flooding and erosion, polluting water and soil.

With our correspondent in Lubumbashi, Denise Maheho

The NGO Afrewatch, based in Lubumbashi, launched the alert on February 25, during the publication of its report on “theCDM mining and its impacts on the environment and the health of populations “. For the time being, the CDM company does not comment on this report.

In the meantime, in the Kasapa district, Judith’s family lives about 300 meters from the CDM factory. This Friday, Judith could not go to school because it rained on the city and the channel which collects the water coming from CDM is flooded. Impossible to cross it.

« The company dumps its waters every time it rains. There, I missed the lessons. The canal was full and the water overflowed into our house. It’s our daily ordeal “, she testifies.

Further on, Wivine Tshibwabwa is sitting in front of the health post where she works as a nurse. Here, she received several complaints from patients who questioned the mining activity: ” People often complain of urinary tract infections, skin rashes and respiratory infections. Normally we shouldn’t live here. »

For its part, the NGO Afrewatch, which investigated the environmental situation in this district, is formal. The water and the soil are polluted in view of the results of the analyzes of the samples: ” It was found, in water and in the ground, a high concentration of copper and mercury. By manipulating this water and this polluted soil, the population is exposed to diseases », warns Jacques Kabulo, member of Afrewatch.

No reaction from CDM yet. However, the environmental protection department has asked this company to set up a settling basin for its water so as not to discharge it into the neighbourhoods.

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