Orezone Resources, Inc. announced that it has commenced a US $100,000 program to drill wells that will provide a source of clean, safe drinking water for five villages in Burkina Faso, West Africa. The contribution being made by Orezone is part of the Mining for Water Challenge which Orezone initiated last year.
Like Live 8, the G8-targeted initiative spearheaded by Sir Bob Geldof,
the purpose of the Challenge is to improve the quality of life in Africa. The Challenge was developed by Orezone to leverage the resources of the global exploration and mining industry to provide access to clean, safe drinking water in developing countries. The program was inspired by 14 year old Ryan Hreljac from Kemptville, Ontario and is being run in conjunction with Ryan's Well Foundation. Mining for Water (http://www.miningforwater.com ) has challenged the global mining community, including all exploration and mining companies,drilling contractors, brokers, agents, lawyers and other service providers to make a difference in developing countries by either contributing financially to Ryan's Well Foundation or directly undertaking water related projects.
The $100,000 program being carried out by Orezone includes geophysical and hydrological surveys, well drilling, pumping equipment and funding for ACCEDES, a Burkinabe development organization founded by the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, which will liaise with local communities and provide training with respect to sanitation, hygiene and well maintenance. Over 6,000 people live in or near the villages where the new wells are being drilled.
Ron Little, president and CEO of Orezone stated that: "Aid to Africa has recently received a great deal of publicity as the result of "Live 8" and debt forgiveness programs. Our objective is not only to publicize what the exploration and mining industry is already doing, but to strongly re-iterate our challenge to the mining community to stand up and make a difference by making a donation or initiating new water projects." He added that "The five villages are located near our Bondigui ("Bondi") project and we intend to initiate more safe drinking water programs near our other properties in Burkina Faso as well as Mali and Niger."
Burkina Faso is a small landlocked country which is located in West Africa between Ghana and Mali. In 1984 it changed its name from Upper Volta to its current form which translates as "land of honest men". The people of Burkina Faso are renowned for being hard working and optimistic and are making progress in the areas of governance, health, education and reducing corruption. As a result, Burkina Faso qualified to participate in the debt forgiveness program recently announced by the World Bank and IMF. Burkina Faso is considered one of the poorest countries in the world due to its arid soil, lack of resource development and weak industrial base. About 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture which is vulnerable tothe effects of droughts, desertification, and deforestation. Cotton is the key crop and the government has joined with other cotton producing countries in the region to lobby for improved access to highly subsidized western markets.
"One out of every five people on earth does not have access to safe
drinking water. 30,000 people die every day from drinking contaminated water," said Ryan Hreljac, founder of the Ryan's Well Foundation and co-chair of Mining for Water. "UNICEF says that 80 per cent of sickness and death among children is caused by water-related diseases - that's almost four million deaths every year. Exploration and mining companies can help because they are already working in developing countries and they have powerful drills and experienced crews."
Earlier this year Mining for Water also recognized the contributions of Barrick Gold Corporation and Glencairn Gold Corporation. Barrick spent US $2.8 million in Tanzania to increase the capacity of its water pipeline to supply local communities and also drilled a number of wells to service nearby villages. Glencairn spent US $265,000 on community water supply projects near its mines in Costa Rica and Nicaragua including pipelines, water tanks and a water treatment facility.