Avesoro Holdings, which is one of the major mining concessionaires in Liberia through its subsidiaries Bea Mountain Mining Corporation and MNG Gold Liberia Inc., has condemned in strongest terms what it terms as ‘unethical and malicious’ article published against it on March 1, 2021 in the Independent Probe Newspaper titled “Massive Turkish Onslaught on Liberia’s Gold Industry Imminent Mineral Depletion Looms”.
According to the company, the article makes a wide range of allegations against it and individuals without respect for truth and accuracy as required by the basic acceptable standard and ethics of good Journalism, but the publisher of the Independent Probe, Chester Smith, said his institution did not commit any ethical transgression but reported the facts that took them weeks to pursue with the company.
In a strongly worded release commenting on the publication, the company said it is an established culture in the field of Journalism that a person or entity accused of a wrong must be given a chance to respond to said wrong. However, the publisher of the Independent Probe Newspaper showed absolutely no regard for the very tenets he pledged to promote as a journalist, by making allegations that are malicious and libelous on its face.
“Sadly, neither the anonymous reporter nor the paper’s editors contacted any of the relevant managers for comment,” the release said. “Furthermore, they did not inquire from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, which is by law the statutory body clothed with the authority to govern mining activities in the country, to authenticate some of the allegations it reported.”
Mr. Smith, in a telephone interview with the Daily Observer on March 4 refuted the claim and said his institution contacted the company, but its management said it cannot respond to them, noting, “The management said the Government of Liberia cannot do anything to them.”
“This shows that the paper’s aim is to blackmail the company or undermine public confidence in our lawful operations in the Republic of Liberia.”
“Avesoro is operating two largest commercial gold mines in Liberia and is always committed to explore and create new opportunities for people and the development of the country. Being world class businesses integral to Liberia’s economy, both companies act with integrity with the Liberian Government and other key stakeholders in the development of solutions for responsible economic growth, leveraging the talent of more than its 2,000 employees, over 80% of whom are Liberians, and contributing to a sustainable future for the communities,” the release added.
The release said while the management of Avesoro remains a corporate citizen committed to abiding by the laws of Liberia, including freedom of the press and the Mineral Development Agreements it entered into with the Government of Liberia, it (unlike the “Independent Probe Newspaper”) takes very seriously any malicious and false allegations against its image or employees, something that the “Independent Probe Newspaper” has obviously embarked on.
Avesoro says that, while it consults with its lawyers “about possible legal action against the outrageous conduct of this newspaper, we will also officially inform the Press Union of Liberia about the newspaper’s wanton disregard for truth-telling – a core value of the press,”
The Independent Probe Publisher said the management of Bea Mountain has continued to demonstrate arrogance when it was contacted. Without giving more details, Mr. Smith said they were on their way to the Press Union of Liberia’s office for an investigation, and that he could not go further as the case was pending before the PUL.
The mining company, meanwhile, says it would like to inform the public that all mining and exploration activities ongoing in Liberia are within the authority granted the company by the Mineral Development Agreements.