-Sen Naatehn Warns of Huge Disaster Looming; Accuses Lands and Mines Ministry of Complacency
Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Flomo Naatehn has warned of a huge looming disaster in the wake of the growing wave of illicit mining in his county.
“These illicit miners who are predominantly Ghanaian nationals, are causing huge environmental degradation that is now threatening the very livelihood of Liberian citizens living in places with huge concentrations of the illicit Ghanaian miners,” Senator Naatehn’s February 18, 2021 communication noted.
Senator Naatehn disclosed that the miners are using an immeasurable volume of a very dangerous chemical called mercury to extract gold, and has made all the rivers unsafe for humans, wildlife and domesticated animals that depend on the rivers for drinking, washing and other purposes. The Senator lamented that the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy which has the statutory responsibility to grant mining licenses and also institute measures to ensure the safety of Liberian citizens in mining communities is said to be complacent in the illegal mining atrocities in Gbarpolu. “Hence, the Ministry’s inability to take legal measures to gradually curtail the illegal mining or totally abolish the act is not healthy for our country.”
“Colleagues, we have a huge disaster looming right under our noses and we must urgently take actions to safeguard our resources and protect the livelihood of our citizens. Therefore, I am requesting your indulgence for plenary to invite the Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy to appear before this august body to tell the Liberian people why the Ministry is intentionally failing to implement the necessary laws against the dangerous chemicals and other harmful methods of mining against the safety of our people and wildlife.”
Agreeing with his colleague’s call for urgent attention, Senator J. Gbleh-bo Brown said the counties in the southeast of the country, including his Maryland County, are all experiencing the growing wave of illegal depletion of the ecosystem of the country through crude mining methods. The Committee on Lands, Mines and Energy together with other relevant committees have been charged by Senate plenary to conduct an exhaustive investigation and report within two weeks.