By Marcus Malayea in Gbarnga Bong County
The Turkish gold mining company MNG-Gold operating in the gold deposit area of David Dean Town, Kokoyah Statutory District, has begun the rehabilitation of 36 hand pumps in the district as a way of providing safe drinking water to the citizens.
Speaking at two separate but well-attended meetings in Bohn Town and Bahn Town all in the district over the weekend, the Supervisor of the Department of Government and Community Relations, Eugene Kollie and MNG-Gold’s Public Relations Officer, Lloyd Ngwayah, said the company has repaired 26 of the 36 damaged hand pumps and the rest will be reconditioned in the matter of days.
Kollie and Ngwayah said the company has over the months been holding regular meetings with the citizens, aimed at soliciting their opinion as to where the company can make quick interventions, adding, the issue about safe drinking water surpasses education and other issues because water is life.
The two MNG-Gold officials told reporters that, besides the provision of safe drinking water, the company is also involved with the construction and rehabilitation of roads in the district as a means of providing economic security to the citizens by transporting their (citizens) locally produced commodities on the local markets.
“When the people have access to roads, it brings them economic recovery because marketers will be able to travel safely and conveniently to buy their local commodities instead of totting it on their heads and walk miles to the local market” Kollie and Ngwayah lamented.
On the issue of communities that do not have hand pumps at all, Kollie and Ngwayah said the company is contemplating providing safe water for citizens in the district. However, they were swift to indicate that the damaged hand pumps are the ones the company has prioritized, following which the company will re-strategize the construction of new hand pumps to the towns and villages that don’t them.
“The repair of these hand pumps is almost equated to constructing new ones because we are buying everything that a hand pump needs. The only thing we are not doing is to dig the well but we are buying all,” the MNG-Gold officials furthered.
Kollie and Ngwayah said meetings of such through community engagement will continue as a way of improving relationship between citizens and the company aimed at fostering developments in the district.
In the meeting, MNG-Gold agreed to provide earthmoving equipment to clear sites decided by the citizens to get involved in communal farming as a means generating revenue since the company cannot employ every citizen of the district.
MNG-Gold Mining Limited took over from the American-Liberian Mining Company (AmLib) in 2013. The company began mining gold in August 28, 2015 after acquiring a permit from the government of Liberia.
Relationship between the company and residents of David Dean Town turned alienated on November 5, 2018 when a vehicle belonging to a Chinese company hired by MNG-Gold was involved in an accident that resulted into the death of four persons near Sayeweh Town, and the vehicle was reportedly burned by angry residents.
Following the meeting, some of the citizens who spoke with Journalists lauded the efforts of the company to repair their hand pumps that have been down for years. They said that some of the hand pumps were constructed by NGOs, while some were built by politicians who came looking for votes.