Great apes threatened by mining projects in Africa

Great apes threatened by mining projects in Africa

The sector is experiencing greater demand due to the growing demand for minerals used for the energy transition. But unfortunately, mines are very often located near primate habitat, a study published in the journal Science reveals that almost a third of them are threatened.

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180,000 bonobos, gorillas and even chimpanzees are threatened by mining in Africa: copper, lithium, cobalt, nickel for which demand is growing, particularly in the wind power and electric car sectors. 30% of the world’s reserves are found in Africa where mining projects are multiplying.

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The surrounding primate habitats are damaged, if not destroyed. Pollution is increasing and monkeys are more exposed to poaching. According to this study, it is in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali and Guinea that they are particularly vulnerable. Guinea, where more than 80% of the chimpanzee population, or more than 23,000, are in danger.

These animals are in some ways caught between a rock and a hard place, vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and therefore also to the collateral damage of the technologies necessary to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

However, this is not inevitable, explain the authors of this work. Properly carried out, mining projects can be successful, contributing to the development of the countries that host them while limiting the consequences for ecosystems.