… Over Gov’t of Granting ‘Class B’ License to Mining Company encroachment in Cape Mount
Despite undertaking several development activities in Matambo, Grand Cape Mount, Bea Mountain Mining Company (BMMC) is reported to scale down its operations in the county, due to the alleged silence by the Government over a complaint filed by the company, over the granting of a ‘Class B’ license to a mining company, only identified as Jiangyo Investment Group, Ltd, that is encroaching on BMMC’s exploration area.
According to reports, Bea Mountain officially obtained a 'Class A' license from the Government through the Ministry of Mines and Energy to operate in the Matambo area in Tewor District, and other surroundings within the county.
But, according to Bea Mountain, the Government is yet to address said plight, despite the difference between the two classes of licenses guaranteed by the government.
However, the alleged action, Bea Mountain said, violates the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) between the Government and BMCC which is a “Class A’ licensed mining company.
The source claimed that the alleged encroachment by said company, if confirmed, violates Section 6.8 of the MDA, which indicated that, “The Government undertakes not to grant any Class B Mining License in respect of the exploration and furthermore warrants that any and all mining operations taking place within the operation are under any Class C type licenses will not be allowed to interfere with or hinders the exploration and/or mining activity of the company.”
At the same time, the report said the government’s alleged delay or refusal, through the Ministry of Mines and Energy, to urgently get ‘Class B’ out of the Bea Mountain area, has become one of the key factors that will lead to their pending scale down in the county.
With all of this rigmarole, Bea Mountain continues to undertake several development projects within the Matambo area and Cape Mount at large; ranging from the provision of scholarships and financial aid, to safe drinking water as part of the company’s corporate social responsibilities.
The latest is the completion of a 25 kilometer road worth US$100,000, for the first time, linking several communities including Gogoima, Tienie and Massakpa, all located within Tewor District, Grand Cape Mount County.
Bea Mountain, however, said it previously planned to construct a haul road to the process plant in New Liberty, which would have provided more job opportunities to the area as well, but that plan is being put on hold.
“The company is not happy with the way things are going at the present moment. Too many protests that affect the company and the government’s failure to stop the Chinese company from operating on the Bea Mountain concession area,” the company said.
The report continued: “Despite the numerous contributions the company is making in terms of employment, revenue generation, and other development, the company does not feel appreciated. And to make things worse, the government is not doing anything to stop the Chinese company with a ‘Class B’ license from operating. The decision will surely affect many people.”
Although it is not clear yet as to whether Bea Mountain, will scale down its operations in the concession areas in March or April, the indications are almost certain that they will act in 2022, which will further put more burden on the government and the country’s economy because a lot of Liberians will be out of jobs.
On Monday, March 14, the Daily Observer inquired at the Ministry of Mines and Energy for clarification on the conflicting license saga between Bea Mountain and the ‘Class B’ licensed company in question. Ministry officials told this newspaper that authorities who could speak on the matter were either in a meeting or out of the office.
Ministry staff also refused to give our reporter the contact Mr. Rexford Chea Sartuh, Assistant Minister for Mineral Exploration and Research.
Meanwhile, Deputy Mines and Energy Minister for Operations, Emmanuel O. Sherman, declined to speak after their Communications Director, Richard Manubah, said he could not comment on the allegations, but preferred that “the rightful people” speak on the matter.