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.