Citizens raise concern, want gov’t intervention
Concern is mounting in the Liberian/Ivorian border town of Bweulay, close to Buutuo, Zoe-Geh Statutory District over the sudden deployment of mining equipment in the Cestos River to begin the mining of one of Liberia precious metals, “gold.”
According to residents of Bweulay, on January 27, a group of men believed to be Malians, accompanied by some Ivoirans, entered the town from Ivorian side of the border, requesting the residents to allow them conduct gold mining in the river, but the residents denied their request.
After few days, the same group returned on February 11, with six men, including the leader who brought with them all their mining equipment that included a floating dredge seeking for for permission to mine for mineral in the river.
“We resisted and asked whether they have any document from the Government of Liberia to carry on the mining or whether they were representing any company,” said Alvin Poden, the Acting Town Chief of Bweulay.
“They said they were alluvial miners and have no link with any company,” said Philemon Gbatoe,” a youth representative from Bweulay said.
The citizens resisted and said since the Government of Liberia was not aware, and therefore they would not allow any alien to carry on mining activities around the river.
Despite the argument and refusal of the residents, the alleged or illegal miners have set tents along the river bank and mounted a giant size floating dredge being prepared by the Ivorians to jump start their mining activity, they told the Daily Observer Nimba Desk.
“They constructed the road leading from the closest Ivorian town to the riverside with their bare hands, and continued appealing to us to carry on the mining,” said Dickson Koryean, a concerned citizen.
“We want the government to intervene immediately or else these guys will secretly carry on mining activities under the cover of darkness by diving and using the dredge,” Koryean said.
He claimed that the aliens brought dredge with a big machine attached to pieces of pipes running through the water, which has entirely anchored on both sides of the river,” Gbatoe said early.
The Cestos River runs along Nimba’s eastern boundary between Liberia and La Cote d’Ivoire. To date, little is known about the river bearing huge gold deposits, because from time immemorial, nobody has mined in the river like it is done in other rivers in Liberia.
The appearance of these strange men in the water raises great concern and creates anxiety about social benefits for the community and the environmental impact it might cause.
Bweulay is located around the town of Buutuo, near the Ivorian town of Binhouyé and Zouanen, east of Liberia. This area is not too far from the Ivorian gold-rich deposit site around the Zouanen region, where a concession company is operating.
It is not yet known, who is actually behind these miners, but there are speculations that some big hands from either side of the border are behind the mining operation.
Recently, Representative Samuel Korgar of Nimba County Electoral District #5 in which the illegal mining activities is pending denied having any knowledge about the presence of those foreign miners.
He however promised to dispatch his staff there to ascertain the reality of the information, but did not say when.