Berber — A sit-in against toxic and harmful mining practices in Nile State has entered its second week. The sit-in reportedly succeeded in stopping all mining operations in the area, including those of a Russian gold mining company. Local authorities made promises to protesters.
The sit-in was organized by residents of the surrounding area of El Ibeidiya in the Berber locality north of the Nile State capital, Ed Damer, to demand an end to the use of toxic chemicals and other harmful practices in mining and development projects in the region.
The activists reportedly succeeded in shutting down all mining operations in the area, including those of a Russian mining company named Merowe Gold.
Recently, CNN revealed how “Russia is looting gold from Sudan to boost Putin’s war effort in Ukraine” with the complicity of Sudanese military leaders. Following the publication, the Sudanese protested against the looting of gold by Russia.
The demonstrators are also demanding the dismissal of the director of the Sudanese mineral resources company Mubarak Ardol.
Ardol, who is also secretary general of the FFC-National Accord Forces (FFC-NA), a splinter group from the FFC led by several former rebel leaders, is a controversial figure in Sudan.
Ardol moved away from the Sudan People‘s Liberation Movement-North in Southern Kordofan and became director of the Sudanese Mineral Resources Company, maintaining friendly ties with the then-ruling National Congress Party of Omar Al Bashir.
Sudanese social media activists routinely call anyone they see as a defector from the revolutionary course or any politician they don’t trust ‘Ardoli’ or ‘Ardolien’.
He was also charged with corruption.
Apart from the impact of harmful mining processes, locals are also unhappy that no mining revenue has been invested locally, despite the urgent need to improve living conditions.
The inhabitants of the area are therefore also demanding better basic services and more employment opportunities for their population, including in the mining companies of the region.
Mamoun Absher, a member of a Nile State action group and member of the sit-in committee, said the Berber locality’s executive director was committed to improving basic services in the area and to organize the maintenance of all health centres, schools and playgrounds in the region, when he met with protesters on Sunday.
The director said the Nile state government would set up more drinking water projects, upgrade El Gumbarab hospital and build a ring road linking the Berber town to El Ibeidiya.