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Sabodala Gold Operations mining, Senegal

Land-grabbing, displacement and heavy metals contamination; inhabitants have been loosing their sources of livelihoods since the start of mining in March 2009. The food security of the area is put at risk.


En Français ci-dessous ----- Teranga Gold Corporation (TGC) holds a mining license for the Sabodala gold deposit and many other multinationals hold exploration permits in the Keédougou area. Yet the locals do not benefit from this activity at all. Sabodala and surrounding villages traditionally made a living from agro-pastoral activities and artisanal gold panning was practiced during the dry season already common during pre-colonial. The villages of Sabodala and Falombo were the first to lose their gold panning deposits when the multinationals settled. The industrial exploitation of the precious metal has considerably reduced the cultivable surfaces while polluting the rivers and the environment, because of the uncontrolled dumping of heavy metals and toxic products. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Sabodala Gold Operations mining, Senegal
State or province:Kédougou
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Gold
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Français ci-dessous ------ Sabodala Gold Mine is the first Senegalese industrial gold mine. It has been operating since March 2009. The exploitation permit was granted in 2005 to the Australian company Mineral Deposits Limited (MDL) which operated the mine through Sabodala Gold Operation (90% of its capital was originally owned by MDL). The initial area covered by the mining concession was of 20km2. In its agreement with the Senegalese government, MDL benefited from taxes exonerations and other advantages. The government’s 10% participation in Sabodala Gold Operation’s (SGO) capital would be remunerated only once MDL would have recovered from its initial investment (US $ 20 millions). In November 2010, Teranga Gold Corporation (TGC) acquired MDL’s 90% parts in SGO. The 10% remaining are owned by the Senegalese government. Additionally, TGC’s subsidiary Oromin Joint Venture Group owned an exploration permit in the Golouma area (212.6 km2), including the ore deposits of Masato, Golouma West, Golouma South, Kerekounda, Kourouloulou, Niakafiri South-East, Niakafiri South-West and Maki. The Mining convention in April 2015 with the Senegalese government merged the two TGC’s concessions of Sabodala and Golouma, creating one concession area of the Sabodala gold mine which covers 245.635km2. The Canadian based company leads its operations via its two Senegalese subsidiaries: SGO and Sabodala Mining Company. Sabodala Gold mine reached a record production level between April and June 2017 of 57.557 gold ounces (equivalent to 6 tons). Since 2012, the mine’s annual production average is of 210.000 ounces. Over 55 exploration permits have been granted to more than 40 companies in the entire Kédougou region. Besides TGC, two other mining companies have been granted gold exploitation permits in the region: Toro Gold and Randgold. These two other gold mines are about to enter into operation.

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Project area:24,563,500
Level of Investment for the conflictive project200,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/01/2009
Company names or state enterprises:Teranga Gold Corporation (TGC) from Canada
Mineral Deposit Limited (MDL ) from Australia - It was the company to be originally being granted the exploitation permit
Sabodala Gold Operations from Senegal - Currently exploiting Sabodala Gold mine, for TGC
Sabodala Mining Company SARL (SMC) from Senegal - Currently exploiting Sabodala Gold Mine, for TGC
Oromin Joint Venture Group (OJVG) from Virgin Islands (U.S.) - Permis d'exploration du gisement de Golouma obtenu en Février 2007
Relevant government actors:Ministère des Mines, Conseil Rural de Khossanto, Service Régional des mines et de la géologie et Division régionale de l’environnement et des établissements classés (Kédougou)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:La Lumière, Coalition "Publiez ce que Vous Payez", Fondation Rosa Luxembourg, Enda Pronat, SADEV, Oxfam America, Amnesty International, ENDA Lead Afrique Francophone, Réseau des personnes affectées par les opérations minières
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Artisanal miners
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Desertification/Drought
Other Environmental impactsexplosions
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Proposal and development of alternatives:En Français ci-dessous ----Food security is put at risk in the region, local NGOs and villages’ spokespersons are asking to the public authorities and TGO to take their responsibilities and consider this risk seriously in order to prevent it in time (Rosa Luxembourg Foundation, Enda Pronat); revenues to the national government should be redistributed to the local communities; TGO should commit for a sustainable employment policy of the local youth; establish fair compensation mechanisms and alternative lands for the artisanal sites lost.
---- En Français ----- Les ONGs locales et les chefs de villages demandent aux autorités publiques et à TGO de prendre le risque d’insécurité alimentaire au sérieux afin de le prévenir à temps (Rosa Luxembourg, Enda Pronat) ; les revenus perçus par l’Etat devraient être mieux redistribué afin que les populations locales en bénéficient ; TGO devrait s’engager dans une politique durable afin d’engager des jeunes locaux ; établir des mécanismes de compensation justes et des sites alternatifs pour les orpailleurs artisanaux.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Industrial gold mining beneficial to the foreign companies, local populations survining thanks to assitenship
------ L'exploitation industrielle de l'or de Kédougou ne profite qu'aux compagnies minières étrangères, les populations locales survivent grâce à l'assistanat.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Code Minier de 2003
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Louise Prause, West Africa's golden future? Conflicts around gold mining in Senegal, 02/2016, Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung
[click to view]

Mining and Human Rights in Senegal, Amnesty International, May 2014
[click to view]

Mouhamadou Lamine Diallo, Mine d’or et développement durable - Quelques réflexions sur le site de Sabodala (Sénégal oriental), Echo Géo, Mars-Mai 2009
[click to view]

Activités minières et droits humains à Sabodala - Sénégal, La Lumière, 2006
[click to view]

Convention Minière Etat du Sénégal et Sabodala Gold Operations S.A. , 7 Avril 2015
[click to view]

Sabodala Mine Concession, Teranga Gold Corporation
[click to view]

Kédougou : Quand l’exploitation des mines est source de colère, Seneweb, 31/01/2009
[click to view]

Mine de Sabodala: Teranga Gold réalise une production record de 57.557 onces d’or entre avril et juin 2017, 116 Juillet 2017
[click to view]

Gouvernance des ressources minérales au Sénégal: Les OSC mette en place une coalition, Novembre 2011
[click to view]

Mines d'or du Sénégal: Sabodala, Terminus de la Mondialisation, 29 Octobre 2008
[click to view]

ONG La Lumière, Site officiel
[click to view]

Kedougou. L'ONG Sadev dote les femmes et les jeunes de Khossanto et de Sabodala en matériels, 22 decembre 2016
[click to view]

Projet d'Oxfam, Kedougou, pour le renforcement de la sécurité alimentaire, 2017-2017
[click to view]

Kédougou : Le front minier avance, celui de l’agriculture recule, «Osiwa» et «La Lumière» s’impliquent, 5 mai 2014
[click to view]

Kédougou : La lumière éclaire les orpailleurs sur les nouveaux règlements qui régissent l’orpaillage, 01/11/2015
[click to view]

(1) Exploitation de l'or de Sabodala : Comment les sociétés minières se sucrent sur le dos des populations et de l’Etat, 2 Août 2013
[click to view]

Les populations incendient des véhicules de « Sabodala gold operation », 16/02/2016
[click to view]

Kédougou : OSIWA et SADEV offrent un lot de 600 poussins aux femmes, 20/08/2015
[click to view]

Orpaillage artisanal à Kédougou : En route vers l’or équitable, 17 septembre 2015
[click to view]

Mineral Deposits Limited: Filing of Preliminary Prospectus for Teranga Gold Corporation, October 20, 2010
[click to view]

Abdoulaye Seck, Sabodala, une richesse qui profite aux autres, Amnesty International, Campagne Sénégal
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Camila Rolando Mazzuca
Last update25/02/2018
Conflict ID:2945
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