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Sociedade Mineira de Catoca says there are no deaths or angolans affected due to rejected

The Sociedade Mineira de Catoca informed last Friday that no deaths or sick people have been registered in the communities so far, following the damage that affected the drainage system of the company's tailings basin.

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The information was provided by Sabino Coqueia, head of the Work Safety and Environment Department at Sociedade Mineira de Catoca, in a presentation on the state of the tailings basin and preliminary results of the technical-scientific expedition carried out by the company last week.

Following the incident, authorities in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRCongo) announced at least 12 deaths and more than 4000 people allegedly sick due to river contamination caused by the incident at the Catoca mine in Lunda Sul province.

According to Sabino Coqueia, so far there has been no contact or notification between the Congolese authorities and the company.

"We have seen in the press, which has released this result of the 12 deaths and the number of people who have said of sick people," said Sabino Coqueia, considering "an enormous paradox".

"Because we know that we don't use any chemical in our production process and besides that, in the epicenter area, there is no state of health of the weak populations and there wasn't even death. How is it possible that more than 300 kilometers away do we find people killed by that action?", he asked.

Sabino Coqueia stressed that an assessment is being carried out, admitting the possibility that the Congolese authorities have also carried out their investigations and obtained their results.

"But their investigations must also be published. As for us, we made this expedition to carry out the physical-chemical characterization of the water quality, we are going to carry out the chemical characterization of the sediments we found on the banks of the Tchicapa River and within 30 days we will have the results", he stressed.

According to the official, the 55 water and 22 sediment samples collected were sent to several independent local laboratories, to ensure transparency of the results.

The official said that, as a precaution against future situations, the company is checking the entire area of ​​the pipe, where it poured, its compaction and building three more dikes.

At the time of the incident, company technicians surveyed the situation twice a day on the Lova and Tchicapa rivers, in order to have a systematic control of how turbidity levels were changing in those rivers.

In the contact maintained with local communities, Sabino Coqueia said, "mainly with the traditional authorities", they were informed that it is in the tributaries of the Tchicapa river, namely Sanguenje, Camanengue, Loaco and several others, where people go to get water for consumption.

"The turbidity has not really affected these tributaries. Until today there has been no health status, saying that someone is sick, nor the issue of a death, has not been registered at any time in those localities," he said.

The official also said that internally, the company, on the way from the tailings basin to Lova, did the physical-chemical analysis and no heavy metals were verified, also noting that normal water conditions "are in good condition" .

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, on the market for 26 years, and is also the largest generator of employment in the private sector in the province of Lunda Sul, with more than 5000 direct and indirect jobs.

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