Kindia : 20 years after artisanal diamond mining, the after-effects are still felt on the local environment

Several years after the artisanal exploitation of diamond in Kindia, former diamond pits are still visible in many areas. Accoding to many observers, those fetching for diamond might have contributed to the degradation of the environment over time.

At Goleah, a district belonging to Damakania subprefecure, thousands of people have worked in the mines of diamond, leaving open pits behind them. To date, areas covered with these pits are not cultivable.

The Goleah youth leader is well aware of the situation: "artisanal diamond exploitation has caused damage here, the river has been polluted since 2018. Our soils are degraded. When diamond mining started, the inhabitants of Goleah did not know much about it. Some people decided to work in the mine, and they got diamonds, built houses and supported their families. Some time later, diamond started making itself rare, and those who were working in the mines left, leaving behind a damaged environment", said Fodé Bangoura. 

Some inhabitants of Goleah paid to have the diamond pits filled back, but the most part has been left unfilled. "We do not have means to rehabilitate the open pits. The authorities were informed when diamond was being mined here, and people used to pay taxes. There was a military base that was watching the area. For now, we do not know if the authorities have taken measures to rehabilitate the open pits", he added.

In Friguiagbe Gare, a district located 7 kilometers away from Friguiagbe center, unlicensed diamond miners have invaded low-lying areas and fields. More than 20 years after, the inhabitants live in extreme poverty.

Open pits are still visible, but miners have left. The area which used to be very animated, is now like a ghost village.

According to the mayor of the Friguiagbe rural commune, an NGO is planning to rehabilitate the area.  

« Diamond artisanal exploitation in Friguiagbe center took place when we were not heading the commune. The pits have been left open. However, given that administration is continuity, we asked an NGO to refill the open pits. If necessary, control will be exercised. People mined diamond in low-lying areas", said Ansoumane Dorty Keita, mayor of the Friguiagbe rural commune.

Former diamond mining areas in Kindia were left abondonned. There are neither schools nor health posts. Artisanal miners damaged the environment before leaving diamond mining sites.

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