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Dr. Rolf D. Baldus - Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania.


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#1 Game Warden

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:48 AM

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Dr. Rolf D. Baldus

Dr. Rolf D. Baldus has worked in the Selous Game Reserve, the Selous-Niassa-Wildlife-Corridor and with the Wildlife Management Areas around the Selous for 13 years. He is regarded as one of the major authorities on the Selous. To read more about Rolf's work in the Selous, click here.

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He authored or edited around sixty publications on the Selous Game Reserve, the major one being the "Wild Heart of Africa" (published by Rowland Ward in 2009; German edition August 2011), which is the authoritative work on the reserve. To read more about Wild Heart of Africa, click here. (Please note, our readers can acquire signed copies of the book; for more details about this, click here.)

For a complete overview of Rolf's work, please visit his website here - www.wildlife-baldus.com.

“Tanzania will mine uranium in the Selous Game Reserve” was a BBC headline a few days ago. With approximately 50.000 km2 the reserve is Africa’s largest protected area and at the same time it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tanzanian newspapers reported that UNESCO has agreed to these plans. Is that true?

Well, not quite. These are the facts: In February 2011, the Tanzanian Government submitted a request to UNESCO for a so-called "minor modification" to the boundaries of the Selous Game Reserve. The Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest remaining wilderness areas in Africa, is a major hotspot of bio-diversity, holds a wealth of wildlife, in particular elephants, and has been inscribed on the World Heritage List since 1982. There is general agreement that no mining activities may be conducted in a World Heritage Site.

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Selous Map showing location of uranium mine. (Courtesy Mike Shand)

The World Heritage Committee noted therefore that this request should have been submitted as a "major boundary change", in spite of the small size, given the potential impact on the site. It is not size that counts, but impact. The request was referred back till next year in order for an Environmental Impact Analysis to be completed and for an IUCN mission to visit the site.

If I understand you correctly: The Selous cannot remain a World Heritage Site, if the Tanzanian Government gives the go ahead for mining to start within the property. Therefore the Government wants to degazette the mining area.

Exactly.

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Village in the mining area.(Courtesy Rudolf Hahn)

How large an area will the proposed mining area consist of?

The Mkuju River Project, as it is called, lies in the south-western edge of the Selous Game Reserve and on village land in the Namtumbo District, Ruvuma-Region. I have visited the area in 2009. The project was well advanced at that time, but mining as such had not started. The Site Engineer told me that they would use an area of altogether 70 km2 for the mining activities. The actual request is, however, for 198 km2.

What will be the impact of the mining for the reserve?

I cannot answer this question, as Tanzania has not provided an Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA). It is a good Tanzanian tradition that public investments and projects with major ecological consequences are either not subjected to EIAs at all or the EIAs provided are sub-standard and of unacceptable quality. Mostly they seem to have been written just in order to justify the Government decision. The recently planned Serengeti highway was such an example.

We know from uranium mining around the world that it potentially can have catastrophic consequences for the environment and the people living in the area. Germany had to spend approximately six billion Euros to rehabilitate the uranium mines in the former German Democratic Republic. Kyrgyzstan, previously a Soviet Republic, still has large deposits of radioactive waste from former mining. This creates a catastrophic situation, which endangers the health and even the lives of the people living there. It would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to rehabilitate this, and nobody is ready to provide this.

The more the mining company in the Selous is ready to invest and spend on security, the less risk will there be. Ownership in the company has been changing according to the financial press, and so nobody really knows much about company policies. We should not forget that people live right on the boundary of the Selous and that means in the direct neighbourhood of the mine. What worries me is that these people so far have not been informed of the future risks. They are being kept in the dark, due to lack of information, although some mining will take place even on village land.

After the protective upper soils are removed, there are risks of radioactive dusts, water pollution, and we do not know how the tailings will ultimately be stored. Waste is a major problem, as it is radioactive. The Minister has said that Tanzania will earn 5 million US$ in concession fees per year. This seems to be a rather small amount taking into account the risks and the potential rehabilitation costs of the area.

A mission of German parliamentarians visited Tanzania in August 2010 and looked into these issues. They also expressed serious concerns in their report. In particular they feared uncontrolled radioactive pollution of the environment and they criticized the lack of transparency and available information for the citizens.

What will happen, if the EIA, which the World Heritage Committee has demanded, casts a negative light on the mining operation?

I fear that the mining will go ahead anyway. Too much money has been spent already. The exploration started in the nineties. We often saw the chartered helicopter flying above us, when we were on patrol in the reserve. All the planning was done without any involvement of the Game Reserve authorities. The EIA is being done now at a time when it is actually too late. This confirms my suspicion that the EIA will just support the Government’s decision.

If UNESCO and the Tanzanian Government cannot agree, then the final and only sanction, which UNESCO has, is to declare the reserve as a “World Heritage Site in Danger” or waive the title altogether. Tanzania can certainly live without the World Heritage title for the Selous. Since independence Tanzania has always been one of the champions of nature conservation in Africa, even if the effectiveness on the ground left often much to be desired. Recently the country came under international criticism for a number of ecologically problematic projects, including a highway through the Serengeti. President Kikwete seems to be fed up by all this criticism and by the pressures and threats of some NGOs and apparently views them as unwarranted interventions. On March 28th, the President reportedly stormed into the Tourism and Environment Ministry’s offices and apparently enraged, announced that Tanzania would not be dictated from abroad with respect to the country’s environmental policies. This was ostensibly also the cause for the immediate withdrawal of Tanzania’s application for recognition of the "Eastern Arc" as a World Heritage Site. The "Eastern Arc" is a particularly species-rich mountain range in south-eastern Tanzania. What the President overlooked was that it was his own country and Government which had for the past 15 years been trying to achieve inclusion into the UNESCO list and even commissioned a number of research studies to this end. UNESCO is by no means trying to dictate anything to Tanzania. As a matter of fact UNESCO has no say in these issues. It is only the "depository" of the Convention and runs the secretariate. Instead it is the World Heritage Committee, consisting of representatives of the member states. The members, including Tanzania, set the rules.

To conclude: I am sure that uranium mining will start. I fear that it will have a major negative ecological impact on the Selous and the people in the neighbouring communities, and I suppose that the Government will not care much, whether the Selous remains as a World Heritage Site or not.

The World Heritage Committee has not been satisfied with the management and the financing of this reserve during recent years and has asked the Government a number of very critical questions. Several reports can be found on my website. The questions were mostly not answered, and the Government has taken no action. In particular the deplorable financial situation of the reserve has not changed!

Tanzania should read the recent decision of the Committee well. They have declared nothing else but a moratorium when they ruled "that any decision to go forward with oil exploration, mining or dam construction inside the property would constitute a clear case for inscribing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger".

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Muzzle loaders and snares impounded by village game scouts in Namtumbo District. (Courtesy of Rudolf Hahn)

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism has announced that the 5 million US$, which the Government will earn annually from the mine would “help with the costly business of managing the (Selous) park”. Does that sound realistic to you?

Definitely not! To get the facts right: In 1987 the Tanzanian Government spent just over 100,000 US$ on the Selous, and there were around 5,000 poached elephants per year. The German Government assisted in the rehabilitation of the reserve. In order to provide sustainable finance the two Governments negotiated a written agreement that the reserve would retain 50% of all its income for management. Ten years ago the reserve earned nearly six million US$, mainly from sustainable tourist hunting, but also from photographic tourism. Out of this the reserve retained 2,8 million US$. Management was of good standard and at that time aerial surveys and monitoring on the ground revealed that we did have less than 100 poached elephants annually.

In 2005 the German-Tanzanian “Selous Conservation Programme“ came to an end. The next thing the Tanzanian Government did was to break the agreement and reduce the retention of the reserve significantly. Presently the annual budget is estimated at probably not much more than half a million. Management is down again and elephant poaching is markedly up.

It is just not credible that the Government needs uranium mining in order to finance the Selous. The Tanzanian Government should fulfil its contractual obligation and allow the Selous to continue with its retention scheme! It is their reserve and they should be interested to keep it alive.

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Village game scouts remove snares near the uranium area. (Courtesy of Rudolf Hahn)

There are also fears that uranium mining may endanger the nearby Undendeule Forest Reserve. The Minister rejected these concerns in the BBC interview. And he also said that "it currently costs the government about $490,000 a year to manage it and the income from mining would help pay for guards to stop poaching."

I regret to say that this cannot be true. The Udendeule Forest Reserve is under the central Government and has a size of 3055 km2. Like in the case of most forest reserves there is only a minimal financial input by the Government, if any. In this case, it was the Selous Game Reserve, which sent occasionally anti-poaching patrols into that area. I have been there several times, as we studied the migration patterns of elephants for the planning of the Selous-Niassa-Wildlife-Corridor and also conducted an environmental baseline study. I guess that the local situation has not changed much.

It is most unlikely that the Government spends half a million US for that forest reserve. I fear that the Minister mixed that up with the present Government budget for the Selous. This would mean that the Selous budget has shrunk to about 20 % of what it used to be a few years ago. You cannot manage 50,000 km2 with this kind of money. This is again only 10 US$ per km2. The Government wants to continue milking the cow without feeding it. Tourism and hunting in the Selous earns Tanzania much more than the uranium mine ever will; and it is sustainable, environmentally positive and does not create unpredictable rehabilitation costs like in the case of the mine.

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What is the function of the Selous-Niassa-Wildlife-Corridor?

This is a link between the Selous and the Niassa National Game Reserve in Tanzania. It consists of Wildlife Management Areas of the villages. Its function is to allow the sustainable use of wildlife for the villages in order to give them an incentive to conserve wildlife and thereby allowing elephants and other wildlife to migrate and biodiversity to recover. This is not an initiative from above but from below. Unfortunately the Tanzanian Government has never backed this much, as it fears too much citizens involvement. We prepared a German support project of 5 million €, which is now being implemented by the German Development Bank KfW. However, I am sorry to say that this project in my opinion has so far not achieved much.

Is it true that the Selous suffers from other developments and from projects, which also have the potential to cause significant negative environmental consequences?

I mentioned already that rampant poaching again raised its ugly head due to inadequate funding and management. In addition, two projects might soon change the face of the northern Selous forever. A dam and an hydroelectric plant at the "Stiegler’s Gorge" rapids of the Rufiji River, contemplated and rejected already in 1982, is on the cards again. Reportedly, Brazil is interested in cooperating with Tanzania here. This dam would destroy the eco-systems of the entire northern Selous. A smaller dam, which is presently being built about 100 kilometres to the northwest at Ruvu is already causing significant environmental damage. The future reservoir will destroy the summer pastures of immense buffalo and antelope herds in a village Wildlife management Area north of the Selous with a foreseeable drastic reduction of herd size in the tourism sector of the reserve.

You have been deeply involved with the Selous for 25 years now. In your opinion what are the next steps?

I fully support the World Heritage Committee’s recent decision. The following is necessary in my opinion:

1) Revive the Retention Scheme and improve management and anti-poaching;
2) Stop all development projects which contradict the World Heritage status of the Selous;
3) Minimize the negative effects of the Kidunda dam north of the reserve;
4) Stop prospecting and mining within the Selous;
5) Prepare a proper EIA for the proposed Mukuju River uranium mine and stop all exploitation until this is available; thereafter decide about degazetting the mine.
6) Implement and strengthen the Selous-Niassa-Wildlife-Corridor.

I am generally an optimist, but presently I see very dark clouds approaching the reserve. The positive side: With a few decisions the Tanzanian Government could easily bring back sunny weather to the Selous.

--------------------


Annex UNESCO Document.


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World Heritage 35 COM
Distribution Limited
WHC-11/35.COM/20

Paris, 7 July 2011

DECISIONS ADOPTED BY THE WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE AT ITS 35th SESSION (UNESCO, 2011)

1. Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania) (N 199)
Decision : 35 COM 7B.6

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.3, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Reiterates its utmost concern about the weakening of the legal protection status of the property, the different development projects (Stiegler’s Gorge dam, Kidunda dam and Mukuju River uranium mine and oil exploration) which are being considered, ongoing wildlife poaching and the evident deterioration in the management of the property;

4. Urges the State Party to implement the following actions in order to protect the property’s Outstanding Universal Value:

a ) Finalize the creation of the autonomous Wildlife Authority and reinstate the Revenue Retention Scheme,
b ) Abandon plans for the different development projects which are incompatible with the World Heritage Status of the property, in particular the Stiegler’s Gorge dam, uranium mining and oil exploration inside the property, in line with its commitments under the Convention,
c ) Ensure that the design of the Kidunda dam will not affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and avoid flooding part of the property or key wildlife areas on its boundaries,
d ) Enact specific legislation to prohibit prospecting and mining within Selous Game Reserve on the basis of its World Heritage status,
e ) Develop and implement an emergency plan to strengthen anti-poaching activities in the property in order to cope with the alarming increase in poaching,
f ) Revise and resubmit the Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed Mukuju River uranium mine in line with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommendations prior to granting exploitation permits;

5. Reiterates that any decision to go forward with oil exploration, mining or dam construction inside the property would constitute a clear case for inscribing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

6. Strongly encourages the State Party to provide an appropriate protection status to the Selous-Niassa corridor as its inclusion within the property is vital to the long-term integrity of the property and the corridor is progressively fragmented;

7. Recommends that the State Party undertakes a Management Effectiveness Evaluation for Selous Game Reserve, with the assistance of IUCN, and to convene a workshop to address the implementation of the 2007/2008 mission recommendations to develop a plan to implement a full and effective set of conservation actions, and also encourages the State Party to request International Assistance from the World Heritage Fund for these activities;

8. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the steps taken to implement the requests set out in Paragraph 4 above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.

Draft Decision: 35 COM 8B.46

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-11/35.COM/8B.Add and WHC-11/35.COM/INF.8B2,

2. Acknowledges the State Party’s legitimate need to ensure the well-being of its population, fight against poverty and diversify its economy while continuing to protect its natural environment under the framework of and in compliance with domestic provisions in this regard;

3. Refers the minor modification to the boundaries of the Selous Game Reserve, United Republic of Tanzania, to allow the State Party to complete the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process and to also allow for adequate time for IUCN to complete its evaluation of the proposed boundary modification, including a mission to the property;

4. Requests IUCN to urgently undertake an advisory mission to ensure that the EIA process can be completed expediently and in accordance with the standards of the World Heritage Convention;

5. Welcomes the commitment of the State Party to secure and enhance the continued effectiveness of the Selous-Niassa corridor as a key feature to maintaining the long-term integrity of the property;

6. Also welcomes the commitment of the State Party to make proposals for the inclusion into the property of additional land to the effect of further maintaining and enhancing the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

7. Considers that modifications to boundaries of World Heritage properties that are related to mining activities should be considered through the procedure for significant modifications of boundaries, in accordance with paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines, given the potential impact of such projects on Outstanding Universal Value.



The views expressed therein are solely those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Safaritalk.


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#2 Jochen

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:45 PM

In other words;

Want to see the Selous? Go see it now!

:angry:

#3 divewop

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:23 PM

Amen to that, Jochen! :(

#4 Paolo

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 10:01 PM

A great interview (even if reading it makes your blood boil). Thanks, Matt.

#5 Safaridude

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 11:11 PM

Yup. Great interview Matt. Thank you Dr. Baldus. It all appears daunting, but let's stay positive.

#6 I. P. A. Manning

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 01:13 AM

Rolf's assessment of the proposed perturbations to the Selous reveals our central problem in Africa: external neo-colonialistic forces once more hold sway, and the institutions built up through the colonial experience are powerless to curb their depredations. We have moved from the Pleistocene, to the Holocene, and now finally, to the Plundercene.

Mining and dam building have become the modern curse of Africa, of the world. The effect of uranium mining is particularly noxious, the metal having a radioactive half-life of 80,000 years. Its impact on local villagers is devastating in the short, medium and long term; on the aquifers and streams, a permanent poisoning. And it is mined to provide nuclear power and nuclear bombs; a terrible capability and capacity for harm to mankind.

The positioning of the mine could not be worse for the Niassa corridor, an area holding out considerable future promise for Tanzania and Mozambique. The area will be mined for two decades at the most, bring in some money, leaving a permanent legacy of despoliation. This is in direct contradiction with the attempts to create Wildlife Management Areas where local people may enjoy increasing ownership rights to the land and the natural resources. The Selous, early on under Brian Nicholson and later under Rolf Baldus, was one of the great conservation success stories of Africa where safari hunting and ecotourism filled the coffers, its elephant secure. Now it is underfunded and plundered by the criminal ivory gangs. When to this you add a dam in the north at Stiegler's Gorge and a mine in the south, you wonder what is to be done to halt such real and potential destruction.

If it had not been for the Germans the Serengetti incisions would now have begun. Can they do the same for the Selous? But relying on just one donor country to fight the battle for us all is fraught with danger. Even the recent success of many EU MEPs to stop the funding by the European Investment Bank of the mining mafia is a battle victory, leaving the overall war in progress. The massive commodity trader, Glencore, land grabber and miner, operating from their Swiss redoubt, have merely moved from dealing in toxic derivatives and loans to the supposedly respectable haven of the London Stock Exchange with a massive IPO listing. Equities bought by universities, by pension funds, by nice respectable people living in leafy lanes who uphold the Christian ethic of the stewardship of nature will, in ignorance, be funding such destruction. The Plundercene Epoch is truly underway.
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#7 egilio

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 06:46 AM

Great interview again.
Maybe Steven Spielberg should make a movie where huge wild creatures start occurring and creating havoc around this old uranium mine. The creatures have evolved very rapidly because of the nuclear radiation (which does happen around Tsjernobyl). Would create a lot more public opinion against such mines than all NGOs can create together.

#8 PeterGermany

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 09:51 AM

Great insights provided by Dr. Baldus and by I.P.A. Manning.

The key question for me is how the African leaders can be so short sighted (read stupid) that they:

1. Compromise the mid & long term for the mere short term
2. Are throwing their silverware out of the window for micky-mouse money

There is quite obviously an urgent need for a new generation of leaders in African countries, having the skills to manage development properly for the benefit of their fellow citizens in the long term. This change process can only be forced from within I believe and may be all this donations and development sponsoring from foreign countries are achieving quite the opposite. Based on a very interesting documentary broadcasted here in Germany already last year all foreign aid provided to Africa (app. 500 billion $ since 1960) has failed the objectives and has rather promoted the business of foreign companies exploiting Africa's resources on the one hand and has educated the local people to wait for the white UN helicopter to touch down if somethng goes wrong instead of forcing their leadership to provide solutions.

#9 cannedlion

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:51 AM

Brilliant! This is the Internet at its best. Illustrated, comprehensive and incisive. The only thing missing is there by implication - that corruption is at the heart of the decision to mine, just as it is in most (if not all) major projects in Africa. Unable to generate funds by innovation or industrial expertise, African governments are forced to milk huge projects (or nationalise) for the money needed for them to remain in power through patronage. It is this fundamental political necessity that beggars the continent, and will continue to do so until there is an (unlikely) paradigm change in the way African politics functions.
I have forwarded this article URL to all our lists.
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#10 Atravelynn

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 04:14 PM

"Too much money has been spent already" and much more can be earned with the mines. Where is the counter balance? I P Manning's Plundercine epoch is cleverly and tragically descriptive.

Great interview. The ploy that the mines will be used to manage the park is a slick way of trying to appease those of us who. Lies, lies, lies.

Thank you for this vital and depressing information.
When you think of a rhino, think of a tree (African proverb)

#11 twaffle

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 05:25 AM

Mining and its effects on the conserving of wild areas and the environment are a big problem all around the world, not just in Africa. If the people are pitched against mining countries, nearly always it seems that the government will come down on the side of mining.

… clarity in thought comes after challenge …


#12 Atravelynn

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:25 PM

Mining plays a role in the road through the Serengeti. Mining wins because money wins.
When you think of a rhino, think of a tree (African proverb)

#13 johan db

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 02:50 PM

Matt,

Excellent interview. Scandalous but not surprising :angry:

#14 Fundi

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 07:45 AM

I am a Uranium  Exploration Geologist and I have worked in Tanzania.

 

I have found the this article slightly alarmist and short of technical facts. The biggest threat to the animals in the Selous, in my view is the unregulated Hunters and obvious poaching. These people shoot animals! Yes, they 'kill them' for trophies under the guise of establishing a commercial and sustainable industry, which better protects the wider reserve through revenue creation. This might seem trivial, but with the current  poaching levels and latest elephant populations observed, this cannot continue under the current form. It is a slaughter without controls.

 

Recent attempts of anti poaching in the areas around Uranium 1 (Mkuju Uranium Project) is proving very successful. I have heard reports that there has not been a single elephant carcass for 6  months. This is a very positive outcome.

 

Who is paying for this you might ask.

Is it the Hunters claiming back their animals to shoot later? No!

Is it the very capable Tanzanian Govt, through their equally capable MNRT? No!

Is it the local MP in Namtumbo? No!

 

Is it the company trying to establish development/jobs and poverty alleviation in Tanzania? Yes!

 

Being critical of mining/development projects that could underpin the whole SGR is one thing, allowing for industry to better fund it through experts may be the answer?

 

Uranium and its decay products have been exposed and eroded into the Mbarangandu and the Luwegu Rivers for eons. This is a fact. All the rivers light up on any radiometric survey. To suggest mining will pollute is, in my view misleading. Co-existing is the key, through better protecting this threatened region. Having a mining company in the region would shed a very bright and focussed light on their activities, along with all other activities, including deforestation and poaching. It is the mid/top people in Tanzanian society benefiting from this destruction of natural resources. Eliminating this through other means of employment/opportunities will empower.

 

Lets perhaps also talk about birth control in Africa and family planning/education issues as real threats to the wider natural world.

 

This is intended as constructive points of discussion and add some support for Mining/Development/infrastructure for the Mtwarra Development Corridor. 

 

Kind regards

 

 

 

 


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#15 Dam2810

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 08:46 AM

Sorry but i don t really agree, i m not an uranium expert but the track records of mining companies are not really impressive in Africa (and it s an understatement). 

 

Hard to believe that there has not been any elephants poached in 6 months in the areas around that project. Maybe there is no elephants left there...

 

Not sure it is very credible when you start saying the biggest threat in selous is the hunting industry...

 

We saw in many parts of Africa how mining industries are unethical(for the last example, look at virunga).Funny that they try to look like the saviour of wildlife. 


Edited by Dam2810, 28 July 2014 - 09:50 AM.

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“Africa’s human and natural resources have been pillaged and plundered for generations by people from far off lands. From slavery to archaeological artifacts, minerals, fauna and flora, the continent and its people have for so long been victims of other continents’ selfish interests, and today it is continuing…our elephant ivory and rhino horn are going to countries where they are used for God knows what! Only to satisfy ridiculous outdated beliefs whilst we remain with carcasses, as proof we once owned these magnificent animals.” President Khama


#16 Fundi

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 12:09 PM

My friend, I am simply stating facts. I have spent 5 years working in the region and have built reliable sources who still work in the industry there. Please keep an open mind and keep an ear out for more news in the future regarding Anti-poaching efforts, a lot is being done by experts, not armchair commentators.

 

Regarding mining companies in Africa and them not having a good track record and being unethical, Its true by historical standards, companies have not done the right thing. But in todays world, with Govt bodies, EIA's, NGO's, shareholders, corporate disclosures and media intervention has changed this to a large degree. Again, I would do a bit more reading and perhaps travel to some of these mines to see what is being done first hand.

 

If you want to live in todays society with all the living standards that, that brings, it has to come from somewhere. And 99.9% comes from the ground. How do we get it out in a friendly manner that is the key. Many different mining techniques can be employed to minimise their footprint. So I don't think the mining industry is the problem, so long as it is monitored and science plays a key part in the monitoring, not simple off the cuff statements.

 

Regarding elephant numbers, they are there, but the numbers in Selous from poaching has decimated them. The last figure out has stated approx. 14000 left in the Reserve from 35000 in late 1980's, when the last real poaching problem took place. Poaching and indeed hunting is not helping theie numbers? How can it? I mentioned 'unregulated hunting and poaching' is the biggest threat and I stand by that comment. Hunters can/do shoot animals to attract other big cats to the kill.....somewhat unethical? and who is watching the hunters? The Govt? hahaha



#17 Dam2810

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 01:27 PM

The armchairs commentators as you call them are often the ones that put pressure on governments and mining companies (as we saw very recently in Virunga). Hunting has been debated on those forums and the merits of hunting in selous have been recognised. The same cannot be said about mining companies mining in a NP (my mistake the place where the mining is taking place is not part of the NP anymore, i guess you know why the boundaries of selous were recently modified). It s quite ironic that the mining industry calls hunters unethical... 

 

I am glad to read that a lot is being done in terms of anti poaching by experts and not armchair commentators/conservationists like most of us on this forum. However It must be very very recent ;-) I guess you are referring to the one-off payment of USD800,000 of Mantra towards anti poaching..

 

Thank you for advising me to read more and to travel more. I love reading, i also advise you to read lots of topics on safari talk (Maybe you should read this topic again from the beginning), safari talk being a great place to read about africa allows its members to keep an open mind as you mention. Do you have any independent rapports from experts that safari talk members could read (but pls no documents from Mantra or from the Tz got ;-)) because i can not find anything showing us the merits of that mining project? Travelling to Africa is one my favorite hobby. I have been to quite a few of those places and yes i hope to go back to places like Mana Pools, Selous, the Lower Zambezi, the Serengeti and many others if they are not spoiled by human activity like mining. But now I feel relieved that i know that a mining company really cares about the selous and will protect it...

 

i am still wondering why so many conservationists and scientists are against this project.

 

http://www.uranium-n...ning_Impact.pdf

 

 

 

Conservationists around the world have opposed the mine on the grounds that it could lead to the creation of 60 million tons of radioactive and poisonous waste in an area that’s home to thousands of species of wildlife.

 

 

 

Colin Bell  2 months ago

To try and justify the destruction of 35,000 hectares of a pristine, heavily forested and formally protected reserve is bordering on criminal when Africa has less than 7% of its land surface formally protected. Then to try and "spin" their way out of the issue on the basis of a once off $800,000 donation is arrogance. The Spin Award of the year (so far) goes to Mantra Mining and the Tanzanian government. US$800,000 going to do little to curb poaching when the problem is systemic. If that had been $800,000 per annum, maybe that could have started to make a difference. The mining company and a few high ranking Tz officials are taking home the bacon while leaving a few sweeties on the table and they expect the public to sit back and applaud.


Edited by Dam2810, 28 July 2014 - 02:42 PM.

  • Africalover likes this

“Africa’s human and natural resources have been pillaged and plundered for generations by people from far off lands. From slavery to archaeological artifacts, minerals, fauna and flora, the continent and its people have for so long been victims of other continents’ selfish interests, and today it is continuing…our elephant ivory and rhino horn are going to countries where they are used for God knows what! Only to satisfy ridiculous outdated beliefs whilst we remain with carcasses, as proof we once owned these magnificent animals.” President Khama


#18 firmin13

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 02:04 AM

Ruled by economics any company has to try spend less money to make more money. Protecting environement costs money without any return (financially). All environmental protection by companies is forced by government regulations, public relations considerations (rich countries) and so on ...

In case someone thinks, companies needing uranium really care for the environment in  or around Selous that much, that they opt for less profit / higher costs for that stuff, put money into that company. Unfortunately, most people invest in the competitor who doesn't ... And that's true for the countries most of the 'armchair commentators' come from. So IMHO it's not that easy just to blame - in that case - the Tanzanian government only (leaving alone the issue of bribing, which isn't unilateral, as well)

Of course there might be a way to mine with minimal impact on environment, but no one wants to pay for it, and certainly not in Africa. One might think that's all doomsday talking and so on ...

Sure. As much as nuclear power can be controlled, nowadays, in one of the most developed countries of the world ... And  by the way:

As a common ground: a scientific discussion isn't privy to those participating in that science as long as they have an understanding of the terminology. The science here is biology or conservation, not geology ... Qualifying others as 'armchairs commentators' disqualifies anyone for that discussion. The attitude is totally unscientific. The attitude is acceptable for anyone in public relations, advertising ...



#19 Dam2810

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 07:11 AM

It seems that there is another exploration project in the northern part of the Selous (Mkindu U-IOCG Project, i m not talking about the mkuju river project that will take place in the southern part of the game reserve, in the middle of the selous-niassa corridor)? Is it right? If it is the case, i am wondering what will be left of the selous in a few years. 

 

http://metalsofafric...on-22.07.14.pdf (see Mkindu U-IOCG Project)

 

http://www.wise-uranium.org/uptz.html

 

Last but not least, i think no Environmental and Social Impact Study has ever been concluded for the mining project...


“Africa’s human and natural resources have been pillaged and plundered for generations by people from far off lands. From slavery to archaeological artifacts, minerals, fauna and flora, the continent and its people have for so long been victims of other continents’ selfish interests, and today it is continuing…our elephant ivory and rhino horn are going to countries where they are used for God knows what! Only to satisfy ridiculous outdated beliefs whilst we remain with carcasses, as proof we once owned these magnificent animals.” President Khama


#20 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 07:27 AM

One thing is for sure - the wildlife and the wild spaces are on the verge ..........


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