Local authorities in Djibo go on air to address Inata cyanide scandal

Yesterday afternoon local officials in Djibo talked on the radio about the recent cyanide spillage en route to Inata. The mayor and the vice-mayor visited the Voix du Soum radio station with three translators (French, Fulfulde, Moré) and they answered some probing questions about the cyanide accident. I have never heard the mayor of Djibo speaking live on the radio before.

The mayor said that there is now no danger to people or wildlife in and around Djibo. The vice-mayor read out the results of water testing downriver from the reservoir, showing negligible cyanide levels.

Then the mayor talked about the road between Ouagadougou and Inata. He said that the heavy vehicles going to the Inata gold mine have contributed to the degradation of the road. He also said that he had received assurances from the authorities at the gold mine that SMB would help to repair the road. He did not specify whether this will involve tarmacking the road, or simply patching it up – and he did not mention a timescale.

Meanwhile, my colleagues and I continue to await a response from Avocet to these still unanswered questions:

1. When, where and how did the two previous accidents en route to Inata happen?
2. Will Avocet make public their Environmental and Social Benefit document relating to Inata?
3. When will Avocet sign up to the Cyanide Code?

Back in the days when Avocet used to answer my emails, they wrote this:

With regard to the code, we believe that we are materially compliant with the key terms of the code; however we are not currently a signatory thereto.

Jeweller and campaigner Greg Valerio believes this statement from Avocet is meaningless – if they are serious about cyanide security they should prove it by signing the Cyanide Code. Greg has joined the growing number of people who are wanting to hold Avocet and the Burkina government to account for the environmental and social effects of their gold mining at Inata.

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Stephen Davies

Children’s author: picture books, chapter books and YA novels

2 thoughts on “Local authorities in Djibo go on air to address Inata cyanide scandal”

  1. La question n’est pas si l’eau est buvable ou pas n’en déplaisent au maire et à son adjoint. La question est : les populations sont-elles à l’abri d’un autre incident ? Quelles sont les assurances données en la matière par Avocet ?
    Si je me fie à l’historique des promesses d’Avocet, j’aurai quelques doutes sur la réalisation d’une telle route. A moins que la compagnie sentant le vent tourner, fasse l’effort. En matière sociale, elle est au minimum syndical et s’est mise à dos les populations riveraines. Ce n’est pas un hasard. Si on veut savoir si cette compagnie est crédible ou pas, il faudrait demander à ces populations.
    Bel effort Stephen ! J’espère que ces efforts feront boule de neige !

    1. Thanks Walid. I hope to hear more from you over the coming days and weeks, and if you have time I would like to invite you to do a guest post here.

      Here is my rough translation of Walid’s comment:

      The question is not whether the water is drinkable or not. The question is: are the local people under threat of another incident? What assurances can Avocet give us on this matter? If I go by Avocet’s history of promise-making, I have some doubts about whether such a road will ever be realized. Only when the company feels the wind turn will they make the effort. On social matters the company is at the very least ‘syndical’ [like a trade-union] and they have turned the residents against them. This is not an accident. If you want to know whether this company is credible or not, you have to ask the local people.
      Good effort, Stephen! I hope that these efforts efforts snowball!

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