(Ir)responsible technologies

Over the past decade, artisanal and small-scale mining in the Eastern part of the DR Congo has undergone an unprecedented technological revolution, with the use of machines such as ball mills, motor pumps and dredges, and new techniques such as cyanidation. In a FWO-EOS funded research, carried out in 2021, a team of CEGEMI researchers has studied different dimensions of this “technological transformation”. Their findings have been gathered in a series of working papers published by IOB, University of Antwerp.

Bossissi Nkuba, Franck Zahinda Mugisho and Gabriel Muhanzi Aganze have written on « Technologies (ir)responsables dans l’orpaillage : quels risques pour l’environnement et la santé ? Cas de Kamituga et Misisi, RDC ».

Apart from accidents, which is one of the major risks posed by ball mills, this study reports on respiratory diseases caused by the dust. There are also risks of mercury and cyanide poisoning and environmental damage, including water pollution. This study emphasises that mine workers are aware of the risks that the new technologies they are using pose to their own health and to their environment. However, they have limited access to health services and they have little knowledge of responsible technologies. The full working paper (in French) can be accessed here.