Ver Angola


Catoca mine collected samples to prove innocence in the contamination of DRCongo rivers

Sociedade Mineira de Catoca promoted an expedition on the Tchicapa River to collect samples in order to refute the allegations of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRCongo) regarding the contamination caused by the mine, which will have resulted in 12 deaths.


"The samples were sent to the laboratories and, most likely, in the next two to three weeks we will have the most detailed results," a company source told Lusa, stressing that there are no chemical products in the composition of the mine's tailings pulp.

"The production process at Catoca is physical, not chemical. The rejected pulp is essentially sand (30 percent) and water (70%)," he said.

The Congolese government says that 12 people have died since July due to contamination of the Kasai and Tchicapa rivers, following the spillage of liquids from mines in Angola.
According to the DRCongo government, which is asking Angola and companies to compensate for the damage caused, the blame for the spills lies with the international companies operating the Angolan Catoca mine, the fourth largest in the world in the production of diamonds.

To refute the allegations, the Sociedade Mineira de Catoca carried out, between 16 and 19 September, an investigative expedition along the Tchicapa river to the border with DRCongo, to collect samples at various points.

"The aim is to prove with laboratory data that no heavy metals leaked into the Tchicapa River and adjacent areas, which may have caused deaths as a result of the incident recorded in the tailings basin drainage system pipe, on July 24th, a situation already outdated", justified the company in a statement.

The expedition departed from Lunda Sul, passing through Lunda Norte to the Congo border, monitoring 'in loco' along the course of the Tchicapa river, measuring the quality of the water, through the collection of samples to analyze the chemical characterization of the sediments. washed away, plankton assessment and fauna monitoring.

"We refute all accusations, however within the framework of our social responsibility and due to the strong commitment we have with the preservation of the environment, we decided to create a multidisciplinary team, which includes representatives from ministries, universities, provincial directorates, NGOs [non-governmental organizations ] and independent laboratories, which is carrying out this expedition and very soon we will make a public presentation of its results," said Sabino Coqueia, head of the company's Department of Work Safety and Environment, cited in the statement.

The company from Minas Gerais states that it "immediately applied an environmental impact mitigation plan", which "allowed to observe a marked and continuous improvement in the concentration of suspended solids, corroborating what was determined from the beginning: despite being a unfortunate incident, there was never a risk of life for the populations".

The incident was due to a breakdown in the mine's tailings basin drainage system that caused a polluting spill, covering approximately 100 kilometers of the Lova River and adjacent areas, in Lunda Sul province, according to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Environment. Angola environment in early August.

According to Sociedade Mineira do Catoca, the stability of the containment dykes is being strengthened: in addition to the set of existing protection systems, two more dykes were built and the construction of a third one to filter the suspended particles is underway.

Located in northeast Angola, the Catoca diamond mine is in the hands of an international consortium of mining companies, which includes state-owned Endiama, Chinese company Lev Leviev International and Russian company Alrosa.

Located in Lunda Sul Province, Sociedade Mineira de Catoca is the fourth largest open pit mine in the world, responsible for more than 75 percent of the country's diamond production.