Liberia: Ministry of Mines and Energy Concludes Stakeholders' Dialogues in Mining Community in Bong

Kokoyah — A delegation from the Ministry of Mines and Energy on Thursday, October 22, 2020 held a stakeholders' dialogue in David Dean's Town, Boinsen District on the operations of MNG Gold Liberia.

The dialogue was concentrated on the "Underground Mining Permit" the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency granted the Management of MNG Gold Liberia on 20th July 2020.

The dialogue gathered together citizens, county authorities, officials of the MNG Gold and a delegation from the Ministry of Mines Energy.

In his opening remarks, Emmanuel O. Sherman, the Deputy Minister for Operations at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said the dialogue was meant to explain to citizens the processes involving the underground mining of the company in their area.

Minister Sherman said that dialogue was also geared towards obliterating the fears that underground mining would cause nearby towns and villages to sink in. "The main reason we are here for is to erase the fear that due to the underground mining, nearby towns and villages will sink in; it is not possible because the rocks under there are strong and we understand the process," he continued.

Sherman said as a country, it was important for Liberia to have two industrial gold mines, citing the one in Sayweh Town, Boinsen District, Bong County that is being operated by Turkish Mining Company MNG Liberia and the Bea Mountain in Grand Cape Mount County. "But as a country, it is very much important for us to see that we have now as we speak two industrial gold mines" Sherman said.

Unlike other African countries like Guinea and Ghana that have long engaged into underground mining, the Deputy Mines and Energy Minister for Operations furthered that the thought that Liberia could have engaged into underground mining was farfetched, as it has put the country on par with others in West Africa.

He narrated that the Ministry of Mines and Energy gave MNG Gold the authorization to do underground mining because the mineral, gold is no longer found on the surface.

Sherman said all the necessary assessments were done before the issuance of the underground mining permit to MNG Gold to operate in Kokoyah.

Presenting the roadmap for the underground mining, a Mining Planning Engineer at MNG Gold said the underground mine would be produced vertically, meaning the holes will be dug downward and not horizontal towards any other towns or villages. He assured the citizens that the company will adhere to the required safety measures during the process.

At the dialogue, the citizens raised concerns about their benefits, should there be any social or environmental impact as the result of the underground mining activities, a question the company is yet to respond to.

The dialogue stemmed from a recent communication from Bong County Electoral District #1 Representative, Albert Hills, Jr. to the Ministry of Mines and Energy, requesting the ministry to move in the community and provide detailed information about the underground mining permit given the company.

Speaking at the occasion, Representative Hills called for a mutual understanding between the citizens and the company, if the citizens should get their just benefit and if the company's properties should be protected. "If we are to succeed, we are to work together," Hills said.

For his part, the Chairman of the Bong County Legislative Caucus, Representative Joseph Papa Kolleh said he is curious about the citizens' benefits. Kolleh mandated the management of MNG Gold to ensure that the lives of Bong County citizens who will form part of the underground mining be insured. "And we will make sure that before they start the underground mining, those who will be in that hole we will make sure that they be insured!" Rep. Kolleh lamented.

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