MACIG Connect Series
CAIE-G rehabilitates land after mining so as to maintain a healthy and productive environment for local populations in Guinea.
Can you highlight the role that CAIE-G plays in the mining industry, and what environmental concerns the Consortium specifically believes it can assist in mitigating?
Our specialized companies are primarily involved in the environmental side of mining. We are speaking to companies like CBG because we know that in Kamsar, for example, there are vast lands being exploited and something needs to be done to rehabilitate those areas. In the Siguiri district, where AngloGold Ashanti operates, they have planted cashews, which are very high value and could serve as a source of revenue for the local communities. The lands or the concessions are mainly in village areas and if the mining companies could replant these kind of fruits it could be very useful to promote the growth of the communities and to better the environment.
What is your strategy for becoming more involved with the Guinean mining industry?
From time to time, we provide business consultancy services to foreigners looking to acquire permits or concessions. We have a Chinese group in the exploration phase that is interested in bauxite and gold permits. By reaching some sort of agreement with contacts such as this, whereby in the post-mining stage we could propose some of our environmental solutions, it can facilitate our entry into the industry.
From the environmental perspective, of which risks should a mining company interested in operating in Guinea be aware?
There needs to be greater awareness of the dangers mining activities present to the community. In Boké, in the dry season, trucks transport loads of bauxite along roads that are very dry and dusty. The surrounding communities are complaining about this and protesting against the mining companies because of the associated health risks and damage to local crops. One of the solutions we are promoting is technology to reduce dust emission. Furthermore, in the past the choice of trees or plants chosen during the rehabilitation stage was not concerned with the livelihoods of the local population. If you plants cashew trees, with some effort they can be harvested and turned into something with economic value. Deforestation is another problem in Guinea, but if you plant something with commercial value, people will be motivated to protect the assets.
How can the regulatory framework be improved to better support environmental awareness and sustainability initiatives?
What is lacking is the implementation of a strong regulatory framework on the ground. There is existing legislation in place that compels mining companies to contribute to offset whatever damage they do, but the issue is the impact of such a mechanism. On a private level, if companies have more direct engagement with environmental solution companies, that could have more impact than going through a long administrative process.
How does CAIE-G see its role in the mining sector evolving in the coming years?
Our aim is to gain some sort of understanding with the mining companies about how their land is cultivated once the mining activities are completed. If we can reach some sort of agreement to take over the concessions to take care of the land, we can help to grow plants in otherwise difficult growing conditions. We are looking at the Kamsar-Boke-Siguiri area where the cashew has a better yield than in other zones in the country. If we had access to those lands, our solutions would be well received. We look forward to sitting down with the people of CBG and the Ministry to discuss the post-mining conditions of taking on those lands.