MLME Institutes ‘Stringent Measures’ Against Small-Scale Mining

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Minister Gesler Murray outlines actions being taken against illicit mining.

Authorities at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, have taken steps aimed at controlling the polarized mining sector, which is believed to be dominated by “illicit and small-scale miners” across the country.

In a statement issued on Monday, October 28, 2019, in Monrovia, Minister Gesler E. Murray said in view of the report, the ministry has commenced a rigorous exercise aimed at “fixing and formalizing the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining sub-sector.”

Murray outlined measures taken such as banning the use of dredges on all water bodies within Liberia’s borders for mining gold and diamonds; training of mining agents and mineral inspectors being approved and rolled out, and commencing of an institution of training in Smart Mining techniques for local miners around national parks and protected areas.

Other actions include a moratorium (ban, halt) on the issuance of new class ‘C’ mining licenses; and reinforcement of a ban on the use of mercury to recover gold, with violators to face prosecution; banning of field personnel from collecting fees in the execution of their duties, and issuing of biometric ASM ID Cards to all mining actors, urging every mining actor to obtain the ID Card.

According to Minister Murray, said illegal mining activities prompted action by the MLME with the consent of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the National Security Agency (NSA). He added that Liberia’s alluvium field is being denuded by both local and foreign “mining dissidents.”

According to him, information gathered has shown that both local and foreign miners are plundering the mineral resources to the extent that the country is losing to individuals.

He said the stringent measures are important because illicit mining has security implications, noting that the intention with which they mine, which is done to undermine the state, is continually emerging with sources of financing unknown.

There is also a social implication that Minister Murray said involves prostitution as well as the use of illicit drugs. He said that it is essential to place a ban on these activities so that Liberia’s social fabric cannot be eroded.

Additionally, Minister Murray said that illicit mining has not only social and security implications, but economic overtones as well.  “We are experiencing economic losses from these activities because the local buyers do not have the proficiency or efficiency to recover minerals in an optimum manner, and so most of our minerals are left into the streams or rivers,” Minister Murray said.

Minerals, the Minister said, when not mined in a proper manner, the country tends to lose in the process.

Murray called on all legitimate miners, including residents of areas where illicit mining activities are prevalent, to report any case of such violation as violators will be prosecuted.

He said that the ministry with support from the World Bank and the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) is implementing activities under the Liberia Forest Sector Project (LFSP), which will lead to the formation of seven mining cooperatives in Gbapolu, Sinoe, and Grand Gedeh counties.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Chinua Achebe once said, “Until the lion (African) tells his side of the story, the tale (the story) of the hunt (natural resources) will always glorify the hunter (the foreign power).”

    Liberia is small country endowed with precious resources. However, Liberia’s precious resources have been greatly mismanaged as stated by the Minister.

    In general, Africa’s vast natural resources should be a blessing to its people! On the contrary, Africa’s natural resources have become a curse: mainly due to foreign power strategic alliances to dominate Africa’s vast natural resources.

    Foreign powers relentless scramble for Africa’s vast natural resources have led to poverty and instabilities in Africa. These covert activities come in many forms: insurrections, civil wars, assassinations, coup d’état, installation of military junta that lead to overall destabilization of Africa.

    The D.R.Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Libya, Central African Republic, Southern Sudan, just to name a few have all experienced destabilization aided by foreign powers.

    Liberia should not repeat its past mistakes of natural resource mismanagement. Some of its valuable iron ore reserves have already been depleted through foreign exploitation without added value in return. Liberia should also learn from fellow African countries mistakes on how controversial and polarizing when it comes to dealing with extractive industries.

    Liberia lacks the trained man-power to adequately regulate these technical extractive industries. Liberia could accomplish this herculean task by bringing in foreign expertise to teach these requisite courses at the engineering colleges or send more students abroad to prepare them in the field of Lands, Mines & Energy.

    As Chinua Achebe once said, “Until the lion (The African) tells his side of the story, the tale (the story) of the hunt (natural resources) will always glorify the hunter (the foreign power).”

    Well stated Mr. Minister!!

  2. MR. MINISTER, IT IS VERY UNFAIR TO ORDAINARY LIBERIANS WHO WOULD LIKE TO OBTAIN A CLASS C LICENSE FOR A SMALL SCALE MINING SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE A LOT OF MONEY TO INVEST INTO LARGER SCALE MINING EQUIPMENTS FOR A CLASS B AND A LICENSES . YOU AND I KNOW THOSE INVOLVES LOTS OF MONEY. AN AVERAGE LIBERIAN NEED TO SECURE THEIR CLASS C LICENSE WITH VERY MINIMUM INVESTMENT SO AS TO FEED THEIR FAMILY. I PERSONALLY THINK YOU NEED TO SERIOUSLY GO AFTER THOSE GHANIANS, NIGERIANS THAT ARE DOING ILLEGALLY MINING MOSTLY IN MARYLAD, GRAND KRU, GBARPOLU AND OTHER COUNTIES.MOST OF THESE PEOPLE DON’T HAVE A PERMIT OF RESIDENCE TO LIVE IN LIBERIA. HOW DO YOU TRACE THEM WHEN THEY COMMIT CRIMES? PLEASE NOTE, THEY ARE ALL OVER LIBERIA RESIDING ILLEGALLY,AND MINING ILLEGALLY.YOU CANNOT DO THAT IN GHANA OR NIGERIA. PUTTING A HALT TO CLASS C LICENSE IS TAKING THE BREAD OUT OF POOR LIBERIANS MOUTHS.

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