Photograph by Kalyanee Mam in Boke Guinea 2017
Impact on chimpanzees
With the level of mining that is planned, what hope is there for the chimpanzees of Guinea?
Guinea has the largest bauxite reserves in the world and the largest iron-ore deposit in Africa. Maps of mining concession show very little space left where chimpanzees can live. Mining impacts chimpanzees in many ways:
-chimpanzees lose their homes, their forests, their food and the safe places where they sleep
-chimpanzee flee the noise and human activity and are pushed into adjacent territories where they may be killed by resident chimpanzees, or not have enough food to eat.
-chimpanzees contract illnesses from increased human presence in the area
-chimpanzees are killed by workers who do not have the same taboos against eating chimpanzee meat.
Impact on People
Is mining improving the lives of Guineans?
-A recent report by Human Rights Watch reveals that mining companies need to improve the way in which they compensate people who have lost their land from the mining
-The mining has caused rivers to silt up and become polluted. Mining dust has caused health problems and destroyed farmers crops.
-Despite the millions of tonnes of bauxite being removed from Guinea, the Guinean people have seen little benefit.
-In Boke there have already been deadly demonstrations against the lack of running water and electricity in this mining town where several of the largest companies from Russia, China, the US and Australia among other countries are based.
Buyers and end-users
Makers and buyers of soda cans, cars, planes, golf clubs and aluminum foil all need to ensure that their products are coming from sources that do not negatively impact people or chimpanzees.
The buyers and end-users of aluminum are also responsible for ensuring that they examine their supply chain and only purchase aluminum that has come from companies doing their maximum to avoid chimpanzee habitat, to mitigate the negative effects as much as possible to humans and chimpanzees, and ultimately to compensate for the harm their activities have caused.
Some companies in Guinea are trying to compensate for damages
The Wild Chimpanzee Foundation has worked with the Guinean government, two mining companies - CBG and GAC, as well as the IFC to create a new protected area with the aim of offsetting the negative impacts of their activities on chimpanzees.
Unfortunately, this newly protected area, and offset, is now threatened by the Koukoutamba hydroelectric dam, planned to be built in the middle of the park, and that could kill up to 1,500 chimpanzees and jeopardize the long-term viability of this park,
What Can I do?
Ask bauxite companies, the Guinean Government, and the banks that fund these mining projects to ensure that they avoid, better mitigate and compensate for the damages that they are inflicting on both people and chimpanzees.