Extractive industry in Republic of Congo: a Ramsar Advisory Mission visits the Ramsar site Cayo-Loufoualeba

Extractive industry in Republic of Congo: a Ramsar Advisory Mission visits the Ramsar site Cayo-Loufoualeba

9 July 2010

At the invitation of the Ministry of sustainable development, forest economy and environment, Republic of Congo, a Ramsar Advisory Mission was undertaken jointly with the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Agreement on African-Eurasian Waterbirds (AEWA) in Brazzaville and the area of Pointe Noire from 23 to 28 June 2010.

This mission, providing technical assistance to the Government of the Republic of Congo and funded by the Swiss Grant for Africa programme, examined the possible impacts of the development of potash extraction facilities on the Ramsar site Cayo-Loufoualeba.

This highly diversified Ramsar site includes a mangrove, two lakes -Cayo and Loufoualeba- mainly supplied by the Loémé River, small streams, papyrus marshes and submerged forested islets, and is an important source of fish, the main income for surrounding communities.

Future water extraction site, on Loémé riverLoufoualeba lakeCayo lake

The mission team was led by Dave Pritchard, expert of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), and included Sergey Dereliev representing CMS and AEWA, Alexia Dufour from the Ramsar Secretariat, Noël Watha Ndoudy, environmental expert in extractive industries in Congo and Roseline Ognimba, representing the Ramsar Administrative Authority. The team members met government officials, the mine operators and local communities and examined issues related to water extraction and gas supply for the future potash plant.

Mission team (l-r): Dave Pritchard, Noël Watha Ndoudy, Roseline Ognimba, Alexia Dufour, Sergey DerelievMarie-Helène Turgeon (from MagMinerals) showing the possible gas pipeline route next to the Loufoualeba lake Meeting with fishermen from Tchilembi village, located by the Loufoualeba lake

The mission also discussed broader subjects such as the management of the Ramsar site and, more generally, the implementation of the two Conventions (Ramsar and CMS) and AEWA in Congo. The mission report and recommendations will be posted on the Ramsar web site this autumn.