Ivoirians and Ghanans are carrying on illegal mining, and smuggling minerals from the country, House’s Chairman on Judiciary committee has said.
Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa told a news conference Friday April 6, 2018 that illegal mining is prevalent in the Southeastern counties by folks from neighboring countries.
The Grand Kru District-two Representative said the influx of foreigners in the county poses serious security threat and has called on the Executive Branch of government to increase armed security officials.
“I observed illegal mining going on in Grand Kru. You have foreigners coming in from different points where there are not border points-for instance, using canoes via Sass Town, Grand-Cesss, etc invading, bringing in machine to dig gold and diamond out of our waters and is likely to cause environmental damage,” he said.
“This illegal mining has been going on for a year now. Currently, there is Hugh influx of foreigners. At some point in time, we observed 500 Ghanaians at Sass Town Beach but while I was in Grand Kru, I observed in one town an individual that was arrested for illegal mining did not speak English but rather French. I also heard in conversation that majority of those invading the county are Ghanaians,” Cllr. Koffa explained.
According to him, the illicit mining exercise in the county is been harbored by local authorities.
“There is possibility that illegal mining is harbored by local authorities. There are reports indicating that foreigners are sheltered by local’s authorities-some are living in our homes. Foreigners are reportedly paying our locals L$200-300 to be sheltered,” he said.
Recently, liberia new Lands and Mines Minister, Gesler Murray told Senate’ Committee that he will institute system to mitigate illicit mining which said is prevalent here.
He said illicit mining and smuggling of minerals had over the decades hugely contributed to the low performance of Energy sector to revenues generation here.
As part of his measures, he vowed to embark on stringent measures including; Robust inspection of alluvial mining sites;
Revisiting the granting of prospecting and claims license; re-assessing the roles of mining agents with a possible deployment of geologists and mining engineers within the inspectorate division of the Ministry; issuance of identification cards to all filed agents of the Ministry; and unrolling a set of alluvial mining regulations to ensure compliance and commitment to environmentally friendly and socially sustainable small-scale mining activities which is in keeping with the share vision of the mineral policy among other.
He said to stop smuggling of mineral commodities across the borders, the ministry will capacitate and strengthen the inspectorate division with what he called teeth-biting authority; using of metal detectors by filed agents and border control guards to detect gold and other metallic mineral substances; fostering cooperation between border guards of neighboring countries; and if necessary and possible offering a percentage of the value of the seized mineral contraband to field agents and border control guards as in incentive among others.
Writes Alex Yomah