Liberia: Ministry of Mines and Energy, Partners Hold Workshop for Artisanal and Small Scale Miners

Kakata, Margibi County — The Ministry of Mines and Energy in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Monday organized a one-day stakeholders workshop with the aim of developing a user-friendly handbook for both artisanal and small scale miners.

After the 14-year civil conflict, there has been limited investments across the country thus constraining income and livelihoods of many within the population, especially war affected youths in rural areas and economically deprived young people in urban settlements who have been pressured to migrate in rural areas in search of income and livelihood.

The artisanal mining sector (ASM) of Liberia has, however, attracted both local and foreign miners owing to the limited barriers to enter in the sector, including limited expertise, among others.

According to a 2012 report of the World Bank, the sector is said to be a major source of livelihood for more than 100,000 gold and diamond miners in Liberia who depend on the sector for income. Notwithstanding, the sector for the most part has been under-regulated thus undermining its huge potential to support social economic growth and livelihood of rural communities with little or no access to basic services and income generating activities.

Key challenges facing small-scale miners include limited knowledge about environmental and human rights protection laws; complex and often convoluted supply chains which often make the local miners susceptible to exploitation; limited knowledge among miners about the value and pricing of gold and diamonds and the

existing regulations to ensure that commodities are produced and exported legally

Making remarks, the Assistant Minister for Planning, Research and Development at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Johnson S. Willabo, Jr. stated that developing a Liberian user friendly ASM handbook will ensure that communities, who are the direct recipients of the negative environmental and social impacts of ASM activities, have the capacity to participate in the governance of the sector, including monitoring.

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