The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) has lifted a moratorium on all alluvial mining activities involving gold and diamond in Nimba County.
According to a press release read at the inauguration ceremony of a water treatment plant in Sanniquellie on Wednesday, November 28, the government, through the MME, decided to lift the moratorium after noticing that the circumstances in which the moratorium was placed no longer existed.
In so doing, the government has informed the general public, especially those interested in alluvial mining activities, to renew their old mining licenses and obtain the requisite permits and licenses for mineral mining and trading in Nimba County.
“Being legally registered and licensed will bring all operators into full compliance with the legal and regulatory framework that governed the mining sector,” the MME said.
In the release, read aloud at the program, the government also announced that any violator who will engage in illicit mining will be severely dealt with in keeping with the law.
Shortly after demonstrations by angry citizens vandalized properties of ArcelorMittal in 2014, the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf imposed a moratorium on all mining activities in the county.
Many local miners living far from the ArcelorMittal operation zone have complained of hardships and wanted the government to lift the moratorium.
During the moratorium, the government suspended all licenses of mining and trading of gold and diamonds, something many said was another means to impose hardship on those who lived by mining.
Upon the pronouncement of the lifting of the moratorium, there was jubilation across mining zones in Nimba, especially Sanniquellie and Bahn, and people with shovels loaded on motorbikes could be seen heading into the bushes.
Since the discovery of diamond in Nimba in the early 50s, many of the citizens have chosen mining as their livelihood.