Katrina's Feed
Nov 2, 2009

Kilimanjaro’s ice may disappear by 2033

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – The ice on Africa’s highest mountain could vanish in 13 to 24 years, a fate also awaiting the continent’s other glaciers, a study said Monday.

U.S.-based researchers Lonnie Thompson and colleagues said glaciers on Kilimanjaro, Tanzania’s snow-capped volcano which attracts 40,000 visitors a year, could disappear.

Nov 2, 2009

Kilimanjaro’s ice to disappear by 2033 – study

DAR ES SALAAM, Nov 2 (Reuters) – The ice on Africa’s highest mountain could vanish in 13 to 24 years, a fate also awaiting the continent’s other glaciers, a study said on Monday.

U.S.-based researchers Lonnie Thompson and colleagues said glaciers on Kilimanjaro, Tanzania’s snow-capped volcano which attracts 40,000 visitors a year, could disappear.

"There is a strong likelihood that the ice fields will disappear within a decade or two if current conditions persist," said the study, published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal.

The research blames warmer temperatures due to climate change and drier, less cloudy conditions than in the past.

"The climatological conditions currently driving the loss of Kilimanjaro’s ice fields are clearly unique within an 11,700-year perspective," said the study, adding that the mountain lost 26 percent of its ice cover between 2000 and 2007.

At 5,896 metres high, Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the east African country’s top tourism draws, offering tourists a taste of the tropical and the glacial within a five-day climb.

It brings in an estimated $50 million a year. Tourism is the leading foreign exchange earner in the poor country, earning $1.22 billion in 2008.

"The loss of the ice fields will have a negative impact on tourism in tropical east Africa," said Thompson in an email to Reuters.

Home to elephant, leopard and buffalo, as well as expansive views of the Rift Valley, the mountain known as "the roof of Africa" was first scaled by a European, Hans Meyer, 120 years ago. While its Kibo peak rises above the clouds, it can be reached with little more than a walking stick and some puff.

"The loss of the glaciers is an indicator of climate change under way in this region which impacts not only the glaciers on the summit but the weather patterns that bring rainfall to the lower slopes," said Thompson. (Editing by David Clarke)






Sep 28, 2009
via Africa News blog

Can gold save Burkina Faso?

Photo

Is the soaring gold price a ticket to a better life for struggling freelance miners in Burkina Faso?The impoverished West African country is trying to revive its gold mining industry, spurred by the global financial crisis and the need to reduce the economy’s dependence on cotton.Near the village of Mogen in northeastern Burkina Faso, artisanal miners are engaged in a dangerous hunt for gold in hand-dug pits.Landslips kill miners almost every year, although mostly during the rainy season. When it’s dry, children help sift the soil in search of the nuggets that pay for food and school fees.On a good day, a miner will unearth around five milligrams of gold, which earns about $10. But often they come up empty.Jeremi Nacanabo, who helps run an association of informal gold miners, told Reuters Africa Journal: “We don’t have the technology to take out the gold. Right now we’re working in a traditional way, which creates enormous problems and causes many accidents.”But gold mining in Burkina Faso is experiencing a revival after a halt in the late 1990s caused by poor management and inadequate capital.Analysts say poor prices for cotton, the country’s main export, have rekindled interest in mining. The financial crisis is tempting investors to buy low-risk assets such as gold, which is now selling for about $1,000 per ounce.Burkina Faso revised its mining codes in 2003 to attract foreign investors with tax breaks.The goal is to join the ranks of Africa’s top producers — South Africa, Ghana and Mali — within the next three years.In the dusty northeast of the country, the Taparko-Somita mine, which is run by theCanadian-listed, Russian-controlled company High River Gold, is the first of four gold mines that have begun operating in the past two years.Together they produced 5.5 tonnes in 2008 and they are heading for more than that this year. The government takes a 10 percent free stake in each mine.Local miners, who once worked for themselves, are finding jobs with the mining companies. They earn a salary, work in safer conditions and are given training.But even with the recent gold rush, Burkina Faso is still struggling to revive its economy and provide basic services for its 13 million people.Of course everyone¬†can’t be part of the gold mining revival, but global demand for Burkina Faso’s natural resources could at least provide some trickle-down benefit for the economy.