Who Is Mining in Cestos River Near Buutuo?

View of dredge on the Ivorian side of the border.

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.

View of the dredge at the bank of 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 Cestos River (red line) runs along Nimba’s eastern boundary between Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire. (source: Wikipedia)

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.


  1. Who is mining ? Why asked, when it is very easy to travel out and begged for handout as aid . It is too much work for government to get involved. Geologists are politicians , medical doctors are politicians and farmers are politicians and DJs are politicians . It is all about getting quick and fast money. The old fashioned way of back breaking work are out of style for Liberians . It is joy and pleasure the easy way out . Gone are the days of sacrifices made by that nation.

  2. I appeal to the citizens of Buu-Yao district and Bweulay Town specifically to please continue to amicably stop these illegal miners. The citizens of Bweulay should continue to pressure the government of Liberia to intervene quickly or else these guys will deplete the pressure stone “gold”. Please our government, you have to intervene now and quick to stop these illegal miners.

  3. Mr. Davis you left the“reverend” out, they too have become politicians. Everybody want to sit in Monrovia and be driven by their own countryman why they paid them nothing or enslave them. I think all Liberians should go back and re-read the commencement address of the Ghanaian President to LU GRADUATION CLASS OF LAST YEAR-“African Do not need HANDOUT HE SAID” we got everything.

  4. When everybody graduating from high school or college dreams to be a politicians, want to serve in government. The mindset of an average Liberian is to serve in government. Even with those in the diaspora, are dreaming to go back one day and become some officials in government. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, are all fighting for government position. The government has become a turf for smooth landing, and an easy access conduit for free cash. That way, a typical hustler can get access to free cash and “ENJOY LIFE”, at the expense of the poor tax payers.

    This way of life has become the norm for a typical Liberian. “Go to school, get your education,( domestic or abroad), come back and serve your nation”. The phrase, ” SERVE YOUR NATION”, to a typical Liberian, is nothing but serving in government. ‘Serve Your Nation’ is relative in meaning. One can be a teacher, engineer, Doctor, etc.. Our nation is blessed with talents, however; we have corrode our own mind with the idea of those that first ushered our independent. From 1847 to 1980, members of the True Whig Party hierarchies, were all government appointees. The True Whig Party was not short of technocrats, however; those technocrats were also government employees. It makes me wounder that we Liberians, cannot survive outside government appointment. Even though, we have our various fields, but we still craved government jobs. This idea has seeped into our cognition, and has passed from generations to generations.

    In conclusion, if our geologists were not riding big cars in Monrovia, and busy running behind government appointment, we would have known, about the person(s) mining in the Cestor River in Butuo. Every Liberians should roll up their sleeves, and get in the business of being a “POINT GUARD”, in their various fields to provide jobs for other Liberians.

  5. My father arrived in Liberia in 1964, from Guinea, with absolutely nothing. With the blessing of Liberia, by the end of the seventies and early eightieis, he owen 3 shops, 2 taxies and 1 six wheels truck. He had 2 wives, 1 Grebo and 1 Vai. He employed his 4 in-laws. With no former education at all, he could do that. What about a technocrat with a degree, he/she can do more than him. Liberia is blessed with free enterprise system. We are so hooked on goverment appointment. Let not anyone get me wrong, you can serve your country, when call upon. However; not everyone can work in government.

  6. Usually, if not always, some members of the national assembly are quick to involve themselves in areas of insignificance. But, when the actual time arrives in order for them to do their prescribed duties, they show no interest or they pretend not know what’s going on. A typical example of the legislators’ behaviour is precisely what’s being watched in the Cestos River area. Illegal mining! The duly elected Representatives and Senators of the county in which Cestos River is located, should rise to the occasion to stop the ongoing crap. It is not my style to shout a profanity. But, it’s irritating to sit idly by and not say something when an illegal act of this magnitude is being carried out. The bottom line: Liberians need jobs.
    It makes no sense for the country’s natural resources to be squandered like that. On the other hand, who knows? Maybe, some of the lawmakers are cognizant of this secret mining activity for profit. If my supposition is correct, the secret mining activity will not abate. Noise will be made by the poor residents, but one will listen to them. Why? Because they are poor and because no one represents them.

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