Sudanese miners risk health for gold

Miners in rural Sudan use mercury and cyanide to separate gold, which leads to health issues.

by

    Khartoum, Sudan - Toxic chemicals used to extract gold from Sudan's mines are not only harming the health of miners, but also those who live nearby.

    Mine workers in rural Sudan use mercury and cyanide to separate gold.

    Mustafa Abdulgadir, a gold miner, is aware that mercury could kill him.

    "I would have taken another job, but this is the only one I've got," Abdulgadir told Al Jazeera. "While burning the gold, the smoke affects me. That's why I use the scarf, but still it affects me."

    INTERACTIVE: Sudan's forsaken Blue Nile

    Basheer Elkhazim, a local doctor in Ebeidiya, said that he diagnoses patients with poisoning daily. On average, he sees three mercury poisoning cases a day; three lead poisoning cases, and up to eight patients with chest infections.

    Sudan cannot afford to halt or lower production of gold, since it would hurt the already struggling economy. 

    Officials said they are aware of the health hazards and are working on eliminating the use of mercury by 2020.

    "We have approved a plan to get rid of mercury, and we signed the Minamata agreement in Japan which aims to put an end to its use," said Ahmed al-Karory, the minister of minerals.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    A relatively new independence and fresh waves of conflict inspire a South Sudanese refugee to build antiwar video games.