Several concerns are being raised by some communities in the West African country of Guinea over various adverse effects of construction activities meant to pave the way for the kick-off of the Simandou iron ore mining project in Guinea, estimated at over two billion tons on some communities around the area. These construction activities continue to bring untold hardships to a lot of people whose daily lives are being impacted as a result.

Human rights concerns, health challenges, environmental issues and disturbances on traditional and cultural monuments are key adverse effects of the various preparatory works being undertaken to pave the way for the Simandou project.

Besides, large-scale mining and infrastructure development could lead to habitat destruction, loss of flora and fauna, and disruption of ecological balance.

One community that is having its fair share of the negative effects of the sea dredging and the movement of vessels to the Morebayah port is Kaback, which is a fishing community located along the Atlantic Ocean at the eastern coast of Conakry. Even though there is no construction activity within the Kaback community, it is suffering from impacts of the sea dredging works and the movement of vessels to the Morebayah port.

During a recent visit to the area by staff of Advocates for Community Alternatives (ACA), some community members took turns to share their frustrations with the NGO, which helps West African communities that are threatened by the destructive impacts of extractive projects to take control of their futures.

As a predominantly fishing community, the main complaint by Kaback residents has to do with the destruction of their fishing nets as they contended that there was a dredging activity in the sea close to where they have been fishing.

According to them, the dredging was being carried out by Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS) so that the vessels could sail to the port of Morebayah.

“After dredging, the rocks were left in the sea instead of carrying them to a safe place along the shore or inland to prevent the rocks from causing harm or injuries to other users of the sea, they left them in the sea”, the community members lamented.

It was observed during the visit to the community that the areas where the rocks from the dredging were gathered are not demarcated and the this is destroying the nets of the fishermen anytime, they go fishing.

Even though the Simandou mining project holds high prospects for Guinea’s economy owing to its significance not just for its scale but also because of the high-grade iron ore it aims to extract, much needs to be done to mitigate the environmental and other socio-economic effects on people.