13 July 2006

Liberia: Illicit Mining Persists in Gbarpolu County

The senior Senator of Gbarpolu County, Rev. Samuel Tormetie has disclosed that massive illicit mining activities are on the increase in the county, and has called on the national government to immediately stop the illegal mining so as to save the county from been depleted.

The issue of illicit mining activities in the county was first raised by one of the county's representatives, Gbonojever Quiah, who then accused the American Mining Associates (AMA) of being the major architect behind the illegal mining, but authorities at the Lands and Mines Ministry have consistently denied the existence of any illicit mining activities in the county involving the American company.

But speaking to scores of Legislative reporters yesterday at his Capitol Building office, the Gbarpolu County Senior Senator, who claimed to have returned from the county recently, said there has been influx of both Guineans and Sierra Leoneans into the country, who he said have now joined hands with other Liberians in the illegal mining of both diamond and gold at series mining sites in the county.

He argued that this was completely dangerous for the survival of the entire country in the eyes of the international community.

Rev. Tormetie, the only Representative from Shad Tubman's National Reformation Party in the 52nd National Legislature added that the on going illicit mining activities across the country have the propensity to undermine the country's growth and development.

He further said that the local authorities and state security the illegal miners and called on the central government's assistance in stopping the illegal mining activities.

It can be recalled that in 2003, the United Nations Security Council slammed sanctions on the Liberia's diamond and timber industries for what the world body said former President Charles Taylor and his National Patriotic Party (NPP) led government were using the proceeds from the sale of the two natural resources to fuel war in the sub-region.

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