Liberia: Kokoyah Miners Want Government to Reconsider its Decision

21 November 2019

Bong — Citizens of Kokoyah Statutory District, Bong County are calling on the Liberian Government to reconsider its decision and lift a ban on Class "C" Miners in the region.An unconfirmed report says that the Liberian Government recently closed all illicit mining activities in Kokoyah District, a situation that is believed to have affected many of the class "C" Miners."C" Mining is the type of mining using hands.

Our Bong County correspondent says many of the citizens who have been allegedly carrying on illicit mining activities are people who have built their solvability on said job and currently have no means of providing food for their families.

Some of the citizens explain that since the announcement of prohibition on illicit mining activities in the region, many people have been denied without being properly investigated whether they are registered with the government or they are illicit miners.

"I want the government to please give us chance to find our daily bread. For some of us, we are registered Class "C" miners. But since the government through its field supervisors put stop to illicit mining, they have now considered all of us (registered Class "C" miners) as illicit miners," Alexander Gotogai explains.According to him, when an individual is caught mining in Kokoyah, they can no longer be investigated regarding their status with the government's regulation.

"If the government does not want us to operate, there is no need for us to be registering, because the very documents we paid for to carry on our mining activities are the very documents that can be downplayed when we are caught mining," Mr. Gotogai adds.

Also speaking with our correspondent in Bong County, one of the citizens who has been involved with illicit mining claims that they do not mine without the concern of mining company MNG Gold.

"I can't even call that illicit mining because whenever we are going to look for our food, we can inform MNG Gold's operational staff," John Bllebue explains."We are not using shovel nor digger. we are only using our pan to wash the waste dirt [that] the machine can dumb. So is that what you call mining? he asks."This is cleared that the government does not want to help us. You are there as government to help the local citizens, but since you don't want to do it, another person is trying to help us. Then why can't you leave us alone? Mr. Bllebue continues.

Mary Nyahn, age 37, a mother of three children appeals to the Government of Liberia to allow widows to find their daily bread [through mining].With tears in her eyes, Mary explains: " We're only begging the government to help us. They have started chasing us from the operational site of the company which is very bad. I think the company's owners should be the ones complaining. Instead, the government that we depend [on] is the one in fact inciting the company not to do us good."

"What we can do is not harming the company at all. If so, then by now the company [would have] told us not to even step around their operation. But to be frank, it is their waste dirt we can wash then at the end of the day we will see pieces of gold," she continues.

Our Bong County correspondent who traveled to the District on Wednesday says many of the citizens are engaged in either mining activities or making business to provide for their households.

Our correspondent says the region has little number of farmers due to the operation of the Turkish Gold mining company MNG Gold in the area which has taken a significant portion of the land for mining purposes.

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