Mining sector development in West Africa and its impacts on conservation
The main, if not the only industrial activity in West Africa liable to have a direct impact on protected areas is that of the extractive industries. To be able to fulfil their ecological role, protected areas are usually located far from built-up areas and therefore far from industrial areas. Only mines, due to local geological characteristics, are liable to set up in the vicinity of protected areas. In light of the current development of this sector, due in particular to the very high price of many metals, it was deemed important to take stock of the regulatory situation and to gather the necessary data to evaluate the environmental issues raised by this growth. Therefore, PAPACO led a study, financed by the French Development Agency (AFD), on the potential impact of the extractive industries in West Africa. Some elements of this study are presented here.
The interaction between the extractive industries sector and that of nature conservation are covered in this study from three different angles:
- The actual impact of mining activities (whether within or outside protected areas),
- Environmental management of these impacts through EIS,
- Implications of spatial proximity of extractive industries and protected areas for nature conservation: regulatory approach and mapping approach.