WORLD RAINFOREST MOVEMENT
MOVIMIENTO MUNDIAL POR LOS BOSQUES

International Secretariat
Maldonado 1858; Montevideo, Uruguay
E-Mail: wrm@wrm.org.uy
Web page: http://www.wrm.org.uy
Editor: Ricardo Carrere

 

- Senegal: Government limits mining as a means to protecting forests

Senegal has announced it will not grant any new permits for quarrying and
mining in the country's 233 forest conservation areas. The government of
Abdoulaye Wade has said it will encourage companies already operating
there to move out as part of efforts to reduce deforestation and protect
the environment.

Environment Minister Modou Fada Diagne said that his department would
begin talks soon with quarrying companies that already operate in the
country's five million hectares of forest reserves and national parks with
a view to moving them elsewhere. He added that the granting of all new
mining and quarrying permits would be conditional on the approval of
social and environmental impact studies and an undertaking by the firms
involved to restore the environment to its original state once the
extraction of minerals ceased.

The new policy is particularly aimed at reducing deforestation around the
capital Dakar and the towns of Tambacounda, Louga, Thies and Kaolack.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Senegal lost over
45,000 hectares of forest between 1990 and 2000. According to
environmental experts, the uncontrolled expansion of quarrying in Senegal
has led to coastal erosion, a reduction in the area of available farmland
and skin and lung problems for people who live nearby. However, President
Abdoulaye Wade has not granted any new mining or quarrying permits within
Senegal's forest reserves since he was elected three years ago.

It is hoped that the stance of President Abdoulaye Wade and his
Environment Minister Modou Fada Diagne encourage other African leaders to
follow suit and struggle to not let their countries bleed to death. The so
called African "conflicts", who actually are outright wars with hundreds
of thousands of people killed, in most cases are triggered and fuelled by
mining interests, where in many cases foreign corporations play a leading
role.

Excerpted from "Government bans quarrying in conservation areas", 14 July,
IRIN , sent by ECOTERRA International, Nairobi Node, e-mail:
NATURAL_FORESTS@ecoterra.net
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