Govt calls for extensive lead exposure studies in Rosh Pinah

October 08, 2023

The Ministry of Mines and Energy has called for extensive studies to be conducted to address the issue of lead exposure in children residing near mining operations in Rosh Pinah.

This comes after an initial study initiated by the mining company revealed that approximately 20% of the sampled children who were part of a lead program showed signs of lead absorption with adverse effects, although no acute effects were demonstrated.

"The Rosh Pinah Health Care study demonstrated that the blood lead levels of all the sampled children, measured as part of the lead program, were above the reference level, indicating quantified lead exposure and absorption,” Mines and Energy minister Tom Alweendo said,while expressing concern about the findings.

Alweendo stressed the importance of health and safety in the mining sector during a recent session in the National Assembly, stating that the government would not cover up any health and safety issues in the industry.

"After the exposure issue was brought to our attention," Alweendo explained, "we convened a meeting with the company and officials from the Ministries of Health and Labour to discuss the matter."

"During this meeting, the company confirmed the existence of the report detailing the lead exposure issue."

He said that given the Ministry of Health's expertise in health matters, it was decided that the report would be submitted to the Ministry of Health.

"I am informed that the Ministry of Health and the company are addressing the recommendations in the report to manage the situation," Alweendo said

The origins of this concern date back to February 2020 when the Rosh Pinah Zinc Corporation initiated a soil sampling study to assess lead and arsenic concentrations in the residential soil surrounding the mine.

"In February 2020, Rosh Pinah Zinc Corporation conducted a soil sampling study to assess the lead and arsenic concentrations in the residential soil to determine Blood Lead Levels (BLL) and potential lead exposure in children in the areas of concern," said Alweendo.

Subsequently, in June 2020, the company launched a study to measure lead levels in children from families residing in the BeI-El residential area.

"In June 2020, the company initiated a study to determine the levels of lead in children from families residing in the BeI-El residential area," Alweendo noted. "The testing continues for Be-El families, and monitoring takes place monthly."

The Minister emphasized that as extensive studies and recommendations unfold, the government remains focused on ensuring that responsible mining practices are upheld to protect the well-being of all those affected by mining operations in Namibia.

 The health implications of lead exposure in children are significant, as high levels of exposure can severely impact the brain and central nervous system, potentially leading to coma, convulsions, and even death.

Mining-focused investment adviser Appian Capital Advisory recently completed the acquisition of a controlling 89.96% stake in the Rosh Pinah zinc/lead mine from Trevali Mining for an undisclosed amount.













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Last modified on Monday, 09 October 2023 18:05

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