A local advocacy group has put forward a new mining law that will aid government, communities and companies’ efforts to promote a responsible and robust mining sector in which the three parties to land ownership will work together in peace and harmony.
The initiative by the Rural Human Rights Activist Program (RHRAP) brought together 27 participants representing civil society organizations (CSOs) and the mining affected communities such as Kinjor, in Grand Cape Mount County which is considered one of the biggest gold mines, where Aureus Gold Mines operates.
The new Model Mining Law (MML), according to the crafters, will also focus on improving the operating conditions of mining and concession communities in Africa to be used by civil social organizations and mining communities affected by extractive activities. MML seeks to promote responsible and robust extractive operations in Africa, particularly in Liberia.
“Promotion of this new MML,” the executive director of RHRAP, Lorma Baysah, said is done with support from the International Alliance on Natural Resource of Africa (IANRA), which organized a one-day advocacy workshop on the exposure and adaptation of the MML in the country.
He said without peace, government will not generate its needed revenue, and also mining companies will not generate their profits, which follows that community residents will not receive their fair share including employment opportunities as well as benefits from corporate social responsibility schemes.
Baysah disclosed to the Daily Observer yesterday that some of the issues highlighted by the community residents include but are not limited to eviction from their towns for resettlement without just benefits, denial of community participation in the identification and implementation of community development projects, and using the housing units built by some of the mining companies for local residents.
Mr. Baysah said representatives of those communities also pointed out that the arbitrary dismissal of workers by their employers as well as the lack of health facilities were causing many health-related complications.
Additionally, there is a deep rooted conflict between the leadership of Kinjor residents on the one hand and the relationship between the residents and the mining company on the other, which need urgent attention to end further escalation of conflicts that may lead to violence.
However, Baysah said RHRAP clearly informed the residents of Kinjor to do away with any form of violent approach that may undermine the country’s peace as well as the operations of companies, and that they have peacefully engaged aggrieved workers.
In the coming years, Baysah told the participants, his organization will work with community residents, national actors and extractive companies in building sustainable peace among them.
He added: “I am sure mining will not be a curse for Liberia as in the case of most natural resource rich countries.”
Residents of Kinjor in their remarks praised the organizers of the program, and encouraged members of their communities to peacefully resolve some of the entrenched controversial issues affecting them as a result of the mining operations.