Drilling Water Wells in Africa
National Driller July 2005 e-Newsletter
Orezone Resources Inc. has commenced a U.S. $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, a not-for-profit organization that, to-date, has drilled 168 clean water wells in nine countries, benefiting more than 100,000 people. Mining for Water 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.
"One out of every five people on earth does not have access to safe drinking water. Thirty thousand people die every day from drinking contaminated water," says Ryan Hreljac, founder of the Ryan's Well Foundation and co-chair of Mining for Water. "UNICEF says that 80 percent of sickness and death among children is caused by water-related diseases - that's almost 4 million deaths every year. Exploration and mining companies can help because they already are working in developing countries and they have powerful drills and experienced crews."
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. More than 6,000 people live in or near the villages where the new wells are being drilled.
Burkina Faso is a small landlocked country, which is located in West Africa between Ghana and Mali. Qualified to participate in the debt forgiveness program recently announced by the World Bank, 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 percent of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, which is vulnerable to the effects of droughts, desertification and deforestation.
For additional information about Ryan's Well Foundation, visit its Web site: www.ryanswell.ca, and to learn more about the Mining for Water Challenge, check out www.miningforwater.com.