10 April 2019

Liberia: Govt. Ends 'Rescue' Operation At Gbanepea Mine

Two months after the Gbanepea Gold Mine disaster in Tappita, Nimba County, where about 40 miners were trapped under a landslide of debris on February 9, 2019, the Liberian government has announced the end to all rescue works at the mine.

Nimba County Superintendent D. Dorr Cooper, informed reporters recently, said that rescue works at the mine have finally ended, but government has meanwhile ordered the closure of the mine until the county authority can approve of new policy to properly govern the site.

Cooper said about 13 unidentified bodies was recovered during the last rescue, using excavators and other machinery.

"As far as we are concerned, there is no more body in the debris, except for places deep in holes that we did not discover until the operation was ordered closed," he said.

Following the collapse of the mine on February 9, 2019, five bodies were recovered from the hole, while few other corpses were reportedly discovered on the shore of the mining pit.

With the final removal of another 13 bodies in the last phase of the rescue effort, it means that the numbers of bodies retrieved from the disaster site would be more than 20, leaving several others under the falling rubbles.

On February 9, about 40 miners got trapped in the Gbanepea Gold Mine, West of Tappita City, after the mine collapsed during an over night mining.

Several miners sustained various degrees of injury, some severely bad, while others were rescued and taken to the nearby hospital for treatment.

According to some of the locals, the government's rescue effort was very slow, although it sent a handful of military personnel to the area, but they did not do much to resolve the confusion that surrounded the misery at the mine.

The incident left the entire community polluted with smell of bodies, as well as polluting the water table, thus posing environmental hazard.

In late February, ArcelorMittal-Liberia, the Bea Mountain Mining Corporation, CEMENCO, Orange GSM-Liberia and Abi Jauodi Supermarket, donated relief items, including rice, cooking oil, clothing to about 200 family of some of he victims.

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