RAMR2D network scholarship holders
Affiliated CEAs :
- CEA MEM African Center of Excellence in Mining and Mining Environment Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët Boigny, Côte d'Ivoire
- CEA EM EMIG Centre Emergent émergent Environnement minier École des Mines, de l'Industrie et de la Géologie, Niger
Multidisciplinary approach to study the impacts of artisanal gold mining discharges on soil and water resources at the Koma Bangou site (Liptako, Niger).
The scientific project:
The aim of this research project is to contribute to public policy on the management of artisanal gold mining in West African countries in general, and in Niger in particular. It focuses on the waste generated by artisanal gold mining and its impact on soil and water resources.
The aim of this doctoral thesis is also to promote an approach based on research and the production of knowledge in the field of mining and mining environments in Niger, and more broadly in most West African countries concerned by the same socio-environmental issue of gold panning.
This research is at an emerging stage, at a time when the impacts of mining activity are becoming increasingly intense in response to growing global demand. Consideration of the environmental impacts of mining in West Africa goes hand in hand with the overall environmental concerns linked to urbanization and climate change, and is also in line with several of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Artisanal gold mining is an economic activity that has become inseparable from the economic development of West African countries. This activity has played an important role in the Niger economy since the drought of 1984-1985, when the Koma Bangou site in Liptako, western Niger, came into being. Notwithstanding these undeniable economic stakes, artisanal gold mining at Koma Bangou has caused significant damage to people and the environment.
This artisanal gold mining operation, which began in 1984, has generated piles of tailings rich in sulfides, iron oxides and hydroxides, and heavy metals. These tailings, stored on non-vegetated surfaces, are abandoned around extraction shafts, cyanidation areas and dwellings. In most cases, they are dispersed into the environment as a result of water and wind erosion, which is common in the region.
To date, very few studies have been carried out on the impact of mining waste from this operation on the water and soil resources of the mined area.
In order to safely manage these discharges left behind by artisanal gold mining and considerably reduce their impact on the environment, we propose to pursue a multidisciplinary and rational scientific approach to the management of this gold panning site, using tools that enable objective characterization of the impacts and their evolution over time. The coupling of geochemistry with mineralogy, hydrogeology, remote sensing and geostatistics represents a privileged tool for the study, at different scales, of discharges from artisanal gold mining.
Integration of the thesis project into the local, regional and international scientific community :
In the local scientific community, this thesis will be the very first in Mining Environment in Niger concerning the characterization and management of waste from mining operations.
The work resulting from this thesis will support the smooth running of the EMIG Centre's Bachelor's and Master's courses in Mining Environment, as well as higher education and research institutions in this field.
In the regional and international scientific community, the methodologies developed during this thesis will be extrapolated to different sites in West Africa and elsewhere, in collaboration with researchers working in these areas. This work will provide more information and scientific output for use by the research community.