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MINERWA -- A interdisciplinary research laboratory for responsible mining in West Africa
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  • David Baratoux,
  • Ernest Kouassi Ahoussi,
  • Géraud Magrin,
  • Alphonse Yao
David Baratoux
French Research Insitute for Sustainable Development

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Ernest Kouassi Ahoussi
University Felix Houphouët-Boigny
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Géraud Magrin
PRODIG Laboratory, University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
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Alphonse Yao
Institut National Polytechnique Houphouët-Boigny (INP-HB)
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The International Research Laboratory MINERWA (Responsible Mining, West-Africa) has for objective to contribute to the comprehension of the distribution of mineral resources in Ivory Coast, and to their responsible exploration and exploitation, which implies a thorough understanding of environmental and societal impacts. It is co-funded by the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) and by the African Center of Excellence “Mines and Mining Environment” hosted by the INP-HB (Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny) in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast. It also involves the University Felix Houphouët-Boigny (UFHB, Abidjan), and 4 laboratories in France (Geosciences Environment Toulouse, PRODIG, Hydrosciences Montpellier and Espace-DEV). MINERWA is also part of the world-wide network AMEDEE (Activity of Mining, Environment, Development, Economy, Ethics, https://amedee-network.science/en/), which is an international collaborative R&D platform whose goal is to promote responsible mining in subtropical and intertropical areas in partnership. The approach is interdisciplinary and the research team is composed of specialists in social and environmental sciences and geologists. The focus is placed on a multi-scale analysis, from atomic/mineral to the crustal scale through the scale of territories. It aims to reinforce the analytical capabilities in Ivory coast, with a focus on free remote sensing data and software and low-coast portable instruments for geochemical analysis of rocks and contaminants in the field, including portable XRF, portable LIBS, portable gamma-ray spectrometers and portable visible/NIR spectrometers. The research laboratory shall be funded for 5 years and was initiated in 2019. The activities are divided into 5 work packages, including (1) a platform for continuous exchanges between the different actors, (2) capacity building, (3) geology of mineral ressources, (4) mines, environment and societies, (5) scale transfer. Several preliminary research outcomes in the framework of this laboratory will be presented in the session, in particular in relation to the environmental impact of artisanal mining in West Africa [1,2,3]. [1] Abass Saley, A. et al. , this session. [2] Ngome, M. et al., this session. [3] DAÏ, B.S.M. et al., this session.