Yao Kossonou, General Manager, Biotitiale

MACIG Connect Series

Biotitiale can provide all environmental and health and safety services that are required to mine in the Côte D’Ivoire.

To begin, please outline the history of Biotitiale since it was established in 2012?

I was originally an environmentalist before becoming specialised in work place health and safety. I realised that a mine is a world in miniature. It is secluded and must contain everything that it needs. Biotitale was created to service the mines in Côte D’Ivoire and the surrounding region. We help investors in mines with the health and safety of their workers, the protection of the environment and of the communities around the mines. Presently, we are working in Côte D’Ivoire, but we intend to develop across the region, especially in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Senegal as well as Central Africa.

How many employees do you have and what are their backgrounds?

We are 12 permanent staff, including environmental engineers, health and safety experts and water treatment specialists. All come from the leading schools, especially from the INP-HB (Institut Polytechnique Félix Houphouët BOIGNY) in Yamoussoukro. We invest in training them so that they can satisfy the needs of our clients.

Please explain your mobile laboratories?

Unfortunately, due to the difficult financial conditions in the Côte D’Ivoire and the difficulty of obtaining credit, this project is not yet in operation. It nevertheless is a priority. It is a truck that will provide our services. Formerly, due to insecurity in certain regions, the truck would have been at risk so the management decided to postpone this initiative. So at the moment we are working to provide results as quickly as we possibly can for our clients.

What services do you offer to mines at the outset of a project?

It depends on the client; the regulations are clear. If a client wishes us to complete all requirements until a permit is obtained, we can provide that service, or else we can help with particularities related to each mine. We can coach a company as to how to obtain all of the various permissions required from the Ministry of Industry and Mines as well as other institutions, especially in all matters concerning safety, security and the protection of the environment.

How do you help to protect local communities from the pollution caused by mines? 

In the Côte D’Ivoire there is an authority called CIAPOL (Centre Ivoirien anti-Pollution) which is a part of the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development that follows closely all aspects of the environmental impact of mines. We accompany mining companies and help them to control air and sound pollution. We have all of the necessary technology to test atmospheric purity and can measure levels of sound and dust.

How do the regulations of the Côte D’Ivoire compare with those applied in other mining jurisdictions?

The new mining code sets the regulations, which we follow very closely. Of course there are aspects, which need to be improved, but having visited other countries in the region, this country is clearly progressing towards the implementation of the best international standards.

How does artisanal mining impact on the environment?

We can see that, on the one hand, there are mining companies that respect both the national and international regulations and implement them, but, on the other hand, there are those that respect neither. For example, they may use dangerous chemicals without any of the proper controls. We appreciate the government’s efforts to prevent this.

What are the objectives of Biotitiale for the coming years?

Our objective is to become an important partner with all of the mining companies in this region. The laboratory was built for this purpose. We want to enter into a dialogue with mining companies so as to ensure a healthy environment for the good of the workers, the communities nearby and for the mining companies themselves.

What is your message for the international mining community from Biotitiale?

At Biotitiale, we are passionate about the environment. We need to preserve the environment as we found it. Whatever the metal, we want to help investors and mining companies with the health and safety of their workers, managing the environment surrounding a mine, making environmental analysis and implementing preventive measures so as to preserve the environment for future generations.

 

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