15 November 2012

Liberia: Illegal Miners Risk Arrest

Mining Director Tells Law Review Forum The Director of Mines at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, G. Aagon Gwaikolo has told a gathering of miners that the Ministry would arrest and jail individuals involved in illegal mining activities.

Speaking Wednesday at a consultative forum on the update and review of Liberian Minerals and Mining Law in Bensonville, Montserrado County, Mr. Gwaikolo said illegal miners are robbing government of millions of dollars in taxes and other revenues.

The forum, which seeks to educate residents and miners about the Mineral Laws of the country, was organized by the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy with funding from GIZ Regional Resource Governance Program.

Mr. Gwaikolo disclosed that the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy has the right to arrest and jail individuals illegally mining in the country.

He threatened that the ministry would also fine and seize tools being used by illegal miners.

The Director of Mines is calling on residents of mining communities to report miners operating in their communities without license.

Pleading further with residents to assist the Ministry arrest illegal miners, Mr. Gwaikolo disclosed that the ministry's agents deployed at various mining communities across the country lack the requisite logistics to monitor illegal activities.

"Our mining agents do not have cars and motorbikes to travel from place to place to arrest these illicit miners," he said.

He disclosed that the Ministry is aware of illicit miners but added that getting them is difficult.

Speaking further at the interactive forum, Mr. Gwaikolo told the audience that the ministry provides three types of licensees including Class A, Class B and Class C.

He disclosed that 'Class A' licenses are provided to big concession like China Union for a period, while 'Class B license' is provided to foreign firms that has a 15 percent share for Liberians and 'Class C license' is restricted for Liberians.

Also speaking at the forum, Deputy Mines and Energy Minister, Sam G. Russ lauded participants for taking part in the program. He said all natural resources beneath the surface in Liberia belong to the government.

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