Evaluating the Impact of Mining Effluent on Water Quality and Arable Soil along the Musoshi River

Musoshi, Democratic Republic of Congo

Featured image for the project, Evaluating the Impact of Mining Effluent on Water Quality and Arable Soil along the Musoshi River

Description

Musoshi is a community in Kipushi Territory, South of the City of Lubumbashi.  It is a mining town along the border with Zambia in the mineral rich province of Haut Katanga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Musoshi was developed around an official mine known as Sodimico that was run by Japanese and Congolese cooperation in the time of President Mobutu.  Since the fall of Mobutu’s regime 20 years ago, the activities of the mine have largely diminished. The mine was mothballed and flooded in the 1990s but was reopened in 2007. In 2009, during the Title Review process ordered by the Congolese Government, it was decided that the mine would be transferred to the state owned company Sodimico. Today, the mine is still exploited but below capacity. The town, schools, health center, and local incomplete hydropower dam were all constructed by the mining company. The town grew quickly as miners received incentives to have large families. The younger generation went to live outside the estate all around the banks of Musoshi River.

After mining activities ended, a lot of people have had to turn to small-scale agriculture and business (mostly illegal mining). People mostly cultivate maize, sweet potatoes, and cassava for subsistence and small income generation. Yields of maize have been lower because of the changing climate which brings longer dry periods between the rainy seasons, hence the growing need to import maize from Zambia. However because of drought, Zambia itself is facing shortages so oftentimes there is no maize available for importation.

Mining operations were unregulated – mineral treatment water was dumped in the river and nearby forest – so it is thought that this has led to polluted wastewater contaminating soil and potentially groundwater. The channel that used to bring the wastewater to Musoshi River has not been properly maintained and so polluted water has often flooded the land where the community conducts agricultural activities – resulting in burned unproductive soil for agriculture and massive deforestation in the high savannah ecosystem that normally has rich vegetation.

Scientific leads Eric Davidson, Jean-Marie Kileshye Onema and Ckeface Kamengwa Kissi will assist the community leaders in producing as part of the environmental review:

  • A report, including data visualizations, to inform the community of potential soil or water contamination risks from mining effluent, specifically for residents that live in the informal, agricultural-based, part of the town.
  • A presentation to local and/or provincial government with recommendations for remediation policy.
  • Develop a citizen science element: Train the farmers, community members, and students to do the sampling and potentially surveys.

This project should take approximately 6 to 12 months.

About the Community

Deogratias Kayumba, is the Program Director of nonprofit Human Care and Community Development in the World (HCCDW) based in the area. He will serve as community lead along with his colleague, Freddy Kalasa, Director of Research and Community Outreach.

Project Team

Community Leads

Deogratias Kayumba is Founder and Program Director for Human Care and Community Development in the World (HCCDW). He works with communities in extension programs related to environment and sustainable agriculture for smallholder farmers. Deogratias obtained a B.Sc in Agriculture at University of Lubumbashi, a B.Ed. Honours at the University of Cape Town, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Community Leadership at George Mason University. His main goal is to engage the general public, private sector organizations, policy makers and local government in sustainable use of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Freddy Kalasa is Co-Founder of HCCDW and works as the Research and Community Outreach Director. He trains, guides and coaches people from diverse communities and backgrounds to develop their capacity to volunteer and work in community development and widen their field of interests. Freddy Obtained his B.Sc in Agriculture at the University of Lubumbashi and Diploma in Information Technology from a professional.

 

Scientific Leads

Eric A. Davidson is Director and Professor at the Appalachian Laboratory of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Frostburg, MD. Previously, he was a Senior Scientist and served a term as President and Executive Director at the Woods Hole Research Center, Woods Hole, MA. His research in biogeochemistry includes the exchange of plant nutrients from the land to streams and groundwater and the exchange of greenhouse gases between the soil and the atmosphere. He works in a variety of ecosystems, including forests and agricultural lands in North and South America. Davidson holds a Ph.D. in forestry from North Carolina State University and held post-doctoral positions in soil microbiology and biogeochemistry at the UC-Berkeley and the NASA Ames Research Center. He is Past President of the American Geophysical Union and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The Institute for Scientific Information Clarivate Analytics lists him as a Highly Cited Researcher. He served as the Coordinator of the North American Center for the International Nitrogen Initiative. Davidson has written a popular book, You Can’t Eat GNP, which explores the links between economics and ecology for students and laypersons.

 

Ckeface Kamengwa Kissi has a Ph.D. specializing in mapping and assessment of tailings dumps around coppebelt. Kissi studies the impact of copper waste in the farmers gardens in Musushi. He prides himself on his good relationship with people affected by copper activities in this area. He is also co-author of three articles about phytostabilisation and contamination of the food chain.

 

 

Jean-Marie Kileshye Onema executes and coordinates all WaterNet activities as the Head of WaterNet Executive Management.  He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from the School of Engineering and Built Environment, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa; a Master’s Degree in Water Resources Engineering and Management (WREM), from the University of Zimbabwe and a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Lubumbashi. He is currently the interim vice-President of the International Commission of Water Resources Systems (ICWRS) of IAHS and He represents Africa as the Regional committee member for DUPC at IHE Delft. Prof Kileshye Onema has an appointment as Associate Professor with the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Lubumbashi. His research interest covers water resources engineering and management aspects with a strong focus on landuse dynamics on regional hydrology.