37 Killed In Burkina Faso’s Deadliest Attack In Five Years

FILES) In this file photo taken on March 02, 2019 Burkinabe soldiers take part in a ceremony in Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso’s security forces are overwhelmed by the flare-up of attacks carried out almost every day by jihadist groups. ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

 

An ambush on a convoy transporting employees of a Canadian mining company in Burkina Faso killed 37 people on Wednesday, the deadliest attack in nearly five years of jihadist violence in the West African country.

The impoverished and politically fragile Sahel country has been struggling to quell a rising jihadist revolt that has claimed hundreds of lives since early 2015.

On Wednesday morning “unidentified armed individuals” ambushed five buses carrying local employees, contractors and suppliers of the Samafo mining company, said Saidou Sanou, the governor of the country’s Est Region.

As well as the 37 civilians killed, 60 were wounded, he said.

Mine owner Semafo Inc. said the five buses escorted by the military were approximately 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Boungou gold mine in the Tapoa province when they were ambushed.

A security source said “a military vehicle that was escorting the convoy hit an explosive device”.

“Two buses carrying workers were then fired upon,” the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Burkina Faso’s government said the gunmen had conducted a “complex attack”, adding that defence and security forces had launched a relief operation and were searching the area.

READ ALSO: Two Killed As Clashes Erupt At Guinea Funeral March

It was the third deadly attack on Canadian firm Semafo, which operates two mines in Burkina Faso, in 15 months.

“We are actively working with all levels of authorities to ensure the ongoing safety and security of our employees, contractors and suppliers,” Semafo said in a statement, offering condolences to the families of the victims.

The mine itself, it added, remains secure and its operations had not been affected.

Two separate attacks on convoys carrying Boungou mine employees in August and December last year killed 11 people.

The company blamed “armed bandits” for last year’s attacks, and subsequently reinforced its armed escorts.

The Burkina Faso government this year asked mining companies to make their own arrangements to transport their employees, according to sources close to the miners.

Nearly 700 dead in five years

Burkina Faso’s northern provinces have been battling a nearly five-year wave of jihadist violence that came from neighbouring Mali.

The attacks — typically hit-and-run raids on villages, road mines and suicide bombings — have claimed nearly 700 lives across the country since early 2015, according to an AFP toll.

Almost 500,000 people have also been forced to flee their homes.

The attacks have been claimed by a range of jihadist groups, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

The country’s badly equipped, poorly trained and underfunded security forces have been unable to stem the violence, which has intensified throughout 2019 to become almost daily.

The Sahel region, including Burkina Faso’s neighbours Mali and Niger, has been afflicted by the violence despite the presence of the regional G5 Sahel force as well as French and US troops.

Burkina Faso’s previous deadliest attack was in January 2016, when jihadists raided the Splendid Hotel and a cafe in the capital Ouagadougou, killing 30 people, around half of them foreign nationals.

In August this year, the army suffered its worst attack with 24 soldiers killed in an assault on a base in Koutougou, near the Mali border.

On Monday, an attack on a base in northern Burkina Faso killed at least five gendarmes and five civilians.

DR Congo Gold Mine Collapse Toll Rises To 21

 

At least 21 people have died after an illegal gold mine collapsed in Maniema in eastern DR Congo, the provincial governor said Thursday, a day after the accident.

“There have already been 21 deaths,” Augustin Musafiri, the governor of Maniema, said without giving details.

On Wednesday, Steve Mbikayi, the minister of national solidarity and humanitarian action, tweeted that 14 people had died and three had been hospitalised with serious injuries.

READ ALSO: Fourteen Dead After Illegal Mine Collapses In DR Congo

A civil society activist Justin Kyanga Asumani on Thursday said there were 25 deaths “because 10 new bodies have been recovered, including nine men and one woman.” He had given a toll of 15 on Wednesday.

The collapse took place in the mining region of Kampene, about 180 kilometres (about 110 miles) south of the provincial capital Kindu.

Deadly accidents are frequent in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s informal mining sector, where safety is poor.

Subsistent miners rush to an area where valuable minerals are discovered, often digging deep shafts that then collapse.

In May, a public body focussing on subsistence (also called artisanal) mines had asked the mining ministry to shut down the Kampene site on the grounds it had become “too dangerous.”

At Least 52 Killed In Chad Gold Mine Collapse This Week

Chad

 

 

At least 52 people died when an illegal gold mine collapsed in northern Chad this week, a government source said on Friday, with authorities still searching for more bodies.

Chad officials initially said as many as 30 people may have died when the mine caved in on Tuesday in Kouri Bougoudi, in Tibesti province, near the Libyan border, an area rife with illicit mining and smugglers.

Another source who was part of a mission to visit the area also confirmed the new death toll.

“There are 37 injured, including 21 seriously,” the second source said.

Tibesti is largely lawless and home to numerous gangs and traffickers seeking to profit from a gold rush in the area.

Clashes in January between Arab miners from Libya and miners from Chad’s Ouaddai community left “dozens” dead, according to security and mining sources.

Kouri Bougoudi has been the centre of clashes among ethnic, local and foreign groups since 2012 and 2013 after the discovery of gold deposits there.

The Chadian government has authorised mining companies to exploit the deposits but rights groups accuse authorities of using Arab fighters to force a takeover of the area.

Chad, a huge impoverished country in the heart of the Sahel, has been chronically unstable since it gained independence from France in 1960.

In March, the Chadian government decided to set up a joint security force in Tibesti and closed the border with southern Libya — a major source of trafficking and a haven for Chadian rebels.

That move was followed in August by a decree by President Idriss Deby declaring a state of emergency in Tibesti and two other provinces.

Death Toll In China Mining Accident Rises To 21

 

The death toll in a coal mine roof collapse in northern China has risen to 21 after rescuers found two more miners dead on Sunday, state media reported.

A total of 87 people were working underground in the Shaanxi province mine at the time of the accident on Saturday afternoon, according to official news agency Xinhua, citing local authorities.

Rescuers had been searching for two remaining trapped miners but found them dead Sunday morning, Xinhua reported. Another 66 miners were safely evacuated from the mine.

The cause of the accident at the site, run by privately owned Baiji Mining, is still under investigation.

Private coal mines in China typically take fewer safety precautions than larger state-owned mines.

Information about the accident cannot be disclosed, a driver at the company said who answered Baiji’s registered phone number.

The mine is a small scale operation, he said, declining to give his name.

Deadly mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record despite efforts to improve coal production conditions and crack down on illegal mines.

In December last year, seven miners were killed and three others injured in an accident at a coal mine in China’s southwest.

In October, 21 miners died in eastern Shandong province after pressure inside a mine caused rocks to fracture and break, blocking the tunnel and trapping workers. Only one miner was rescued alive.

According to China’s National Coal Mine Safety Administration, the country saw 375 coal mining related deaths in 2017, down 28.7 percent year-on-year.

But despite improvements, “the situation of coal mine safety production is still grim,” the bureau said in a statement following a coal mine safety conference last January.

AFP

13 Killed In Czech Mine Accident

Czech Republic Beat Spain To Reach Fed Cup Semi-Final

Thirteen miners died and up to 10 were injured after methane combustion at a mine in the east of the Czech Republic, a spokesman said Friday.

“In total we have 13 dead miners, 11 Polish and two Czech,” Ivo Celechovsky, spokesman for the OKD mining company, told AFP.

The accident occurred at the CSM mine in the city of Karvina, about 300 kilometres (200 miles) east of Prague, on Thursday afternoon.

AFP

19 Killed In China’s Mining Accident

 

Nineteen miners have been confirmed dead in east China following a mining accident earlier this month that trapped 22 people, state media reported Monday.

The tunnel where the miners were working was blocked at both ends by coal after pressure caused rocks to fracture and break on October 20, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Only one miner has been rescued so far.

Rescuers working to clear the tunnel recovered six bodies Sunday. Two miners remained unaccounted for as of Monday morning.

The accident took place at a mine owned by Longyun Coal Mining Co. Ltd. in Yuncheng County in Shandong province.

Deadly mining accidents are common in China, where the industry has a poor safety record, despite efforts to improve coal production conditions and crack down on illegal mines.

In December 2016, explosions in two separate coal mines in the Inner Mongolia region and in northeastern Heilongjiang province killed at least 59 people.

Earlier that year, 33 miners were killed in a colliery explosion in October in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing, and in September, at least 18 were killed in a mine blast in the northwestern Ningxia region.

According to China’s National Coal Mine Safety Administration, the country saw 375 coal mining related deaths in 2017, down 28.7 percent year-on-year.

However, despite improvements, “the situation of coal mine safety production is still grim,” said the bureau in a statement following a coal mine safety conference in January.

AFP

FG’s Policy In Mining Sector Showing Positive Results, Says Buhari

FG’s Policy In Mining Sector Showing Positive Results, Says Buhari
President Buhari with the NMGS President, Professor Silas Dada; his vice Alabo Charles; and his predecessor Professor Olugbenga Okunlola at the State House in Abuja on June 28, 2018.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says the Federal Government’s key policy objective of rejuvenating the mining sector is being realised as witnessed by the diversification of the economy and broadening of the country’s revenue base.

He made the remark on Thursday when he received the national executive members of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) at the State House in Abuja.

The President was delighted at the ongoing formalisation of illegal mining as a way of curbing its implications on national security, revenue generation, the environment, as well as health and safety of the citizens.

He noted that his administration has been vindicated in its assumption that the nation’s endowment in mineral resources, mining and solid minerals sector has the potential to create employment, increase revenue and reduce poverty.

President Buhari attributed the successes recorded so far to the Federal Government’s policy of increasing budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development; formalisation of illegal mining; approval of funds from the Natural Resources Development Fund to support small miners; as well as enhancing capacity and human capital development.

He also highlighted the significant roles of the strengthening of the regulatory framework, enhanced transparency in the licensing process, and the ease of doing business in the achievements recorded in the mining sector.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, the President pledged the government’s continued support to the sector.

Responding, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari, said the favourable government policy in the sector had led to the activation of dormant mining licences, increase in earnings by the government and the prevalence of “mining prosperity” in the country.

The NMGS President, Professor Silas Dada, thanked the Federal Government for the “revitalisation and rejuvenation” of the mining sector in the country.

He also joined other members of the delegation to confer a laurel on President Buhari who now becomes the Grand Patron of the NMGS.

C/River To Commence Exploration As Govt Discovers Uranium, Others

The Cross River State Government says it has discovered new solid mineral deposits across the three Senatorial Districts of the state and if fully tapped would tremendously transform the economy of the state and reduce its over dependence on federal allocations.

The search and discovery of the resources follow a geological mapping of the state by some Chinese geologists from Shian Xi Province of China after an MOU signed between the Country and Cross River State.

Some of the minerals discovered in commercial quantity were Uranium, iron ore, manganese, tourmaline, barites, marbles, Galina, spherite, coal, kaolin, sulphite, rutile as well as new limestone deposits.

The State’s Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Hon. George Oben’echi, who spoke to journalists at Kokunne forest in Mkpani, Yarkurr Local Government Area of the state, where a huge deposit of limestone was discovered said the new discoveries could be turned to wealth for the state if properly utilised.

“We have about 33 solid minerals without having the idea of their value. Going from the nooks and crannies of the state, we discovered that we have a huge deposit of magnetic Iron Ore. The one we have in Mfamosing is different from the one we discovered in Boki and Ikom and that is what the steel company needs. In Yala Local Government Area in Okpoma, we have about 60million metric tonnes of salt”.

On the mining prospect, Obenechie disclosed that “Government will create an enabling environment to ensure that everything we need is acquired even as we will always go through those processes to enable us mine these resources and for investors, we want to assure that bureaucracy will be put in check and we will target all that will make us move forward.”

A mining engineer and an interpreter for the Chinese team, Mr. Zhao Zhiwei, opined that, although the team awaits the result from the laboratory test, the mineral resources are good and of premium quality.

For the Communities and its Leaders, the discoveries if fully harnessed will change their fortunes and offer jobs to the youths.

FG Has Provided N30bn For Mining Sector Development, Says Osinbajo

FG Has Provided N30bn For Mining Sector Development, Says OsinbajoActing President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government is moving swiftly to break all bottlenecks discouraging investment in Nigeria’s mining sector.

The Acting President stated this on Tuesday while addressing investors at the inaugural National Mining Summit in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

“The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has been granted access to the mining sector component of our natural resources development fund for a sum of N30bn [approximately $100m], an intervention fund from the Federal Government,” he said.

Professor Osinbajo explained that the move was part of measures by the government to help provide cheap loans and grants to industry participants as well as for directly investing in foundational infrastructure.

He said the Presidency would work closely with the Nigerian Stock Exchange to create new funding arrangements and incentives for investors willing to invest in the sector.

“We are currently working with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and others to assemble a $600m investment fund for the sector.Internationally we have secured $150m in funding from the World Bank for the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (

“Internationally we have secured $150m [in funding] from the World Bank for the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MSSED),” the Acting President added.

Apart from financial investments, he said government was also addressing the challenge of the lack of geological data.

“The Nigerian geological and survey agency is undertaking the additional ground investigation nationwide to upgrade our national minerals’  database so that we can more easily attract financial investment, as well as assure operators of the scope of operations required for further exploration and mining.

“We’ve also signed memoranda of understanding and technical cooperation agreements with the China Geological service, Shandong Mineral Exploitation Agency; and the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines of Morocco,” he said.

British Govt. To Partner With Nasarawa On Infrastructure

Al-Makura Commits To Peaceful Coexistence In NasarawaThe British Government has pledged to partner with Nasarawa State Government in the areas of agriculture, mining, housing and infrastructure to help shore up its economic base.

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Thomas, stated this when he paid Governor Tanko Al-Makura his first visit at the Government House, in Lafia, the state capital.

On his part, the Governor assured the UK of all the cooperation it needs so as to achieve optimum results.

While stating the purpose of his visit in a swift manner, he said that more needs is to be done in some sectors of the State and the United Kingdom is ready to partner.

“The purpose of my visit is to understand more about the challenges in this state, to understand about the opportunities in the state and see what support the British Government can bring to Nasarawa.

“Some of these opportunities include agriculture, mining, mass housing, infrastructure, and there is a lot of work that needs to be done, I know the Governor is getting on with that work and doing it very well.

“One of those sectors, one of those priorities are areas where the UK has expertise, British companies can come to the state and engage with you.

“We will look at the opportunities and see in what way they can contribute to the economic development of Nasarawa state”, he said.

The governor who appreciated the visit, responded by saying that the state has a conducive business environment and abundant natural resources, and so the United Kingdom will be given all the cooperation needed for a fruitful partnership.

“Agriculture, solid minerals which abound in Nasarawa state is because we have conducive business environment and climate that can produce any kind of crops.

“So, any British entrepreneur that is interested in partnering with this administration or any organisation within the state can come and we would give certain organisation all the support and encouragement” the governor said.

For optimal result to be achieved, Al-Makura assured that when a deal is signed, it would be supervised by him to avoid any hitch.

“I would like to take the opportunity of this courtesy to bring to your notice that we really acknowledge and appreciate all the support we are getting in terms of this international partner support.

“In particular I would want to assure you that whatever support that comes to Nasarawa state, will be personally supervised by me, to ensure that the ultimate objectives and results are achieved”, he said.

Also part of the visit was an exhibition of samples of mineral resources that the state is endowed with and a visit to the special school in Lafia.

Obiano Suspends Unlicensed Mining In State

Obiano Meets Industrialists, Seeks Solution To RecessionThe Anambra State Government has suspended all unlicensed miners of solid minerals in the State.

Governor Willie Obiano issued the directive when he received a delegation from the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Abuja at the governor’s Lodge, Amawbia.

The team which is for the Southeast Geo-political zone is on a Nationwide Monitoring of Revenue and Mining Activities in states of the Federation.

Their mission also includes sensitizing state governments on the dangers of not diversifying the economy as well as to liaise with the government’s to streamline activities in the Mining Industry.

Governor Obiano noted that his administration is committed to tightening up loose ends in the revenue process to ensure that monies accruable to government come in, also directed all licensed miners to work with the State’s Ministry of Science and Technology to ensure proper monitoring of their activities.

He called on the Federal Government to overhaul the process of issuing licenses to Miners and to actively involve the state government in the new arrangement, insisting that while his government remained committed to exploring the abundant solid minerals in the State for the benefit of her people, “we must know who is giving the license, we must know where the license is going to work and with immediate effect, I want all those mining activities suspended.”

Governor Obiano demanded streamlining of activities in the subsector to ensure that such mining activities do not contribute further to the erosion challenges the state already has.

He also urged the Federal Government to show more commitment towards research and geo-physical studies aimed at identifying solid minerals in the country and expressed confidence that the exercise will help throw the spotlight on the rich gas deposit in the state and the potential it holds for power generation.

Earlier, the Leader of the Delegation, Dr. Casimir Anyanwu, explained that the exercise became imperative because of the dwindling fortunes of the country’s mono-product, hydrocarbon, and the need for state governments to look in the direction of solid minerals as a viable option for sustaining the country’s economy, adding that over forty viable mineral resources have been identified to exist across the 774 Local Government Areas of the country.

Dr. Anyanwu who regretted that there is little or no cooperation between government’s regulatory agencies at various levels and other players in the Mining Subsector, harped on the need for synergy for a significant increase in the revenue accrual for all stakeholders.

Intimating the governor on his observations in the meeting with the visiting delegation, the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Dr. Chinedu Emeka, identified a major challenge facing the mining subsector in the State as the manner in which the Federal Ministry of Mines and Industry has authorized the independent miners to operate independent of the state government and expressed the hope that the visit will help bring the state fully into the picture, ensure that communities whose lands are destroyed during mining are properly remediated and government gets its accruable revenue.

Diversification Of Nigeria’s Economy Now A Matter Of Urgency – Buhari

diversificationPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Guangzhou, China, said that his administration would take urgent steps to ensure the diversification of Nigeria’s economy by encouraging new investments in mining, agriculture and manufacturing.

Speaking at a reception in his honour by the Communist Party of China, President Buhari said that Nigeria would welcome the support of the Chinese government, foreign investors and local businesses for efforts to diversify the nation’s economy.

The President noted that the diversification of the Nigerian economy was long overdue as continued reliance on crude oil exports had always made the economy vulnerable to shocks.

‘‘This time we will be more deliberate. The government and businesses will be involved,” President Buhari said.

In his remarks, the Secretary of the Communist Party, who is also the Governor of the Guangdong Province, Mr Hu Chinhua, pledged that the region will support the implementation of all the bilateral agreements reached with the Chinese government during President Buhari’s visit.

President Buhari also visited the Sino-Singapore Knowledge City in Guangzhou, which showcases advancements by China in medical, science and technological inventions.