Efforts to curtail or to eliminate the presence of undocumented individuals in the mining sector across the country are underway as authorities of the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) and the National Identification Registry (NIR) on Tuesday, July 23, 2029, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at issuing identification cards to all miners and other actors involved in the business.
At a joint press conference held by the MME and the NIR at the MME’s office in Monrovia, authorities outlined not only the measure of issuing the identification cards, but also announced the setup of a monitoring team to ensure that the mining sector is not undermined by the multiplicity of “illegal miners,” as well as people who are involved in the business of purchasing minerals on expired licenses or no license at all.
“The NIR will issue to each miner a national identification card and a special ID card for miners, which we called the ASM ID card. ASM represents Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners. As part of the MOU, the NIR will also collect additional information on behalf of the MME to support our work in regulating and fixing the messy ASM sector,” said NIR executive director, J. Tiah Nagbe.
He said NIR’s issuance of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Identification Cards (ASM ID) to all miners and other actors involved in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) activities across the country, is to establish a comprehensive database of all actors in the sector beginning Monday, July 29, 2019, and it is the Registry’s expectation that this project is completed by the end of October, this year.
“Under this arrangement, we are requesting all miners and anyone who operates within our designated mining areas to make sure he or she is registered with the NIR and obtain an ASM ID card,” Nagbe warned.
He added that NIR in partnership with the Ministry of Mines and Energy wants all miners and people who conduct business in the country’s designated mining areas to know that the ASM ID card will serve as the permit or authorization to enter the mining areas.
He said anyone who does not carry the ASM ID card will not be allowed to work in any of the designated mining areas.
He named mining claim holders, diggers, divers, brokers, dealers, equipment operators, equipment owners or leasers, as well as managers, and people who conduct business within mining sites as people targeted for the NIR’s issuance of the ASM ID cards.
Minister of Mines and Energy Gesler E. Murray welcomed the joint effort the ministry and the NIR have agreed to embarked on and urged all miners and other actors in the mining sector to comply with the Registry and the ministry to have sanity at all mining sites across the country.
Murray said considering the many challenges the country has faced over the years, mainly with the increment in the number of miners and other actors, some of whom he said are not “even Liberians or documented immigrants, now is time to handle the challenges.”
“We have lost the lives of people at mining areas, and some of these people we had no records on,” he said, adding that the issue of security not only for people dwelling within the mining zones, but the very minerals that are mined remain a serious national challenge.
“For us at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, this will allow us to operate a database of mining actors, which will help us regulate the ASM sector. We need to know who works in the sector, what type of work the person is doing, where is the individual working,” Murray added.
He said national security institutions also need information on the mining actors to be able to protect workers, and also ensure that mining activities do not pose security risks to the larger society, and that there are also policies and programs that the ministry needs to consider for the safety, health and future financial well being of some of the miners.