6 July 2018

Liberia: River Gee Lawmaker Raises Alarm On Illegal Mining

A scene of some of the illegal mining activities in the Southeast.

River Gee County District #1 Representative Alex Poure said the extent of Illegal mining activities in the county, with the involvement of at least 2,000 foreigner nationals, was alarming.

Rep. Poure said most of the illegal miners who are using dredges are predominantly Ghanaians exploiting the natural resources of this country without paying taxes, which requires clarity.

Poure complained that despite the halt on the issuance of permits for the use of yellow machines and dredges, there are many foreigners in the country, specifically in the Southeast, who are mining using heavy machines.

"My distinguished colleagues, I am pleased to inform Plenary that our mining sector is overcrowded with foreign nationals, including Ghanaians, and that our resources are getting depleted without any benefit to the citizens and government," Rep. Poure said in a communication.

He added, "This situation is unacceptable and needs urgent remedy."

Following Poure's communication, the Plenary of the House of Representatives voted to forward it to the Joint Committee on Mines and Energy, Internal Affairs and the National Security to review, investigate and report within two weeks as of the date of the communication.

It can be recalled that Grand Kru County District #2 Representative J. Fonati Koffa, a lawyer by profession, wrote Plenary recently on similar activities in the county.

Koffa said illegal mining presents huge challenges where the foreign miners were reportedly bringing in illegal equipment in the county and mining gold, something he said when not addressed urgently, would lead to a serious environmental problem for locals.

He said that the illegal miners are reportedly being housed by local officials.

Rep. Koffa, who chaired the House's Judiciary Committee, said the security presence in the county is "very low."

A surveillance team from the Grand Kru County Immigration office was able to arrest several foreigners who were engaged in illegal mining activities, and machines were seized.

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