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Polaris of Enlightenment

Monday, May 20, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Primates threatened by search for materials for electric cars

Published 14 April 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Gorillas are losing their homes as forests are cleared to extract minerals for electric cars.

A third of Africa’s gorillas and chimpanzees are threatened by the increasing hunt for minerals needed to produce “climate-friendly” electric cars and wind turbines.

The already endangered great apes are losing their natural habitats, suffering from pollution and being disturbed by extremely loud mining operations.

According to a study by researchers at the Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, some 180,000 great apes are threatened by the ever-increasing demand for minerals used in the production of electric cars and wind turbines.

Africa is home to about a third of the world’s mineral resources, and the loud calls for a “green climate transition” have led to an urgent demand for platinum, manganese, and cobalt, among others. In practice, this means that a large number of mines have already been or are being built across the continent – which is expected to have a very negative impact on already vulnerable animals.

“Africa is experiencing an unprecedented mining boom threatening wildlife populations and whole ecosystems. Mining activities are growing in intensity and scale, and with increasing exploration and production in previously unexploited areas”, the researchers warn in the journal Science Advances.

Sierra Leone and Guinea

They compared the monkeys’ habitats with data on ongoing or planned mining projects and concluded that a third of the primates are at risk of being severely affected by mining – especially in Sierra Leone and Guinea, where an estimated 80% of the animals are at risk.

Both gorillas and chimpanzees are already critically endangered, and large-scale mineral extraction threatens to accelerate this trend and make populations even more vulnerable.

The researchers also stress that the impact of mining may be even greater than the study suggests, and that it is extremely important that areas of high biodiversity are left untouched.

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