18 January 2013

Liberia: Gold Rush in Rivercess

The discovery of huge quantity of gold in Rivercess County has enticed several students to drop from academic activities only because they want to enrich themselves too soon. Rivercess County is one of the 15 counties in Liberia created in 1984. It is located in the south-central portion of the country. It has six districts. Cestos City serves as the capital with an area measuring 5,594 square kilometers (2,160sq mi). The 2008 census report says it has a population of 71,509, making it the third least populous county in Liberia.

On December 23, 2012, inhabitants of the area discovered some unspecified amount of gold in the Doemon Township, Fen River District shocked the entire county. Eyewitnesses told the INQUIRER that some young people were fortunate to have walked away with 100-150 grams of gold at the time during the rush.

The news from the gold mine captured the attention of the students who the country refers to as future leaders. With just one high school in the county, Cestos High School students left the campus and paraded to Fen River District which is about two hours walk from Cestos City.

The INQUIRER reporter, who visited the scene during the weekend, was met upon arrival by hundreds of youths who vowed that they would not compromise earning their living because life has become unbearable for them during the past few years.

"My brother, education is good but what will we be eating while going to school? We need money to do things for ourselves and help to support the family. How will you hear about surplus gold in your backyard and leave there just because you are going to school?"a student only named Alfred asked our reporter.

Another student who asked for anonymity said when they discovered a particular quantity of gold, during the sale; they received 70% of the income while the supervisor got 30%. As a result of that, the student said it gives them the enthusiasm to spend all their time working in the gold mine for their livelihood.

When the INQUIRER contacted authorities at the Cestos High School minutes after visiting the gold mine, the VPI for the Junior High section, Mr. Kpadeh Reeves, confirmed that the gold discovery has substantially led to a decrease in the students' populace at the school.

But the County Superintendent, Wellington Gevon Smith sounded a strong warning to workers on the gold mine that no one below age 18 is allowed to work there and threatened to arrest individuals responsible to allow those students on the mine and even those who are supervising the project.

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