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Donor agencies identify mining sector lapses

By Joe Garneo Cephas
Participants at the closing of the nation-wide forum in Monrovia
Participants at the closing of the nation-wide forum in Monrovia

(mylbsonline.com/Liberia)-Donor agencies has helped to identify unequal share, lack of logistics and Government’s support among others lapses in Liberia’s mining sector.

The Core Working Group of Civil Society Organizations of Liberia concluded a regional survey on the natural resource exploitation and management which took place in 11 out of Liberia’s 15 counties.

Rights and Rice Foundation (RRF) Executive Director, Mr. James Yarsiah presenting the findings, said: “In the midst of increasing investment, these visible threats   can fear away investors and cost job loss.”

Mr. Yarsiah pointed out that “there is continue marginalization of vulnerable groups from economic and development opportunities, including land disputes over ownership are exacerbating tension in communities between companies and communities.”

International Alert’s Facilitator, Zahed Yousuf, said: “The finding will be sent to government so that they can help in the formation of clear cut policies to encourage equal distribution of wealth from the operations of concession companies.”

The Deputy Minister   responsible for Operation of Lands, Mines, and Energy, Sam Russ, presented the Government of Liberia’s view on the survey findings agreed that there are challenges in the sector.

He said: “We as government identified the challenges the sector and  don’t have all the capacities  so the private sector is recognizing that if that if community issues are not dealt with they will end out paying the price and it can be a costly price.”

According to him, “we think that it is right for the dialogue to get broaden so that communities, government  and civil society to now speak on it clearly about how our interest can be  identified and achieved,” Minister Russ said.

Also speaking at the forum, OSIWA Program Coordinator, Tania Abraham, promised that the donors will continue to collaborate with government ministries and agencies to create the level playing field in the management of resources.

The survey findings were presented Tuesday August 27, 2013, in Monrovia, at the close of activities marking the close of the regional awareness forum of citizens’ participation in resources governance and management.

The Core Working Group of Civil Society Organizations was supported in the survey by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Purdue University and Alert International. 

Illegal pit sawing and mining in Bio-Mountain

As parts lapses beseeching the mining sector, authorities at the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) have alarmed of a large number of Sierra Leoneans illegally residing in the Bio-Mountain in Bomi County.

The  FDA’s District One Regional Forester, Ruth Varney,  in Bomi County, said: “There are more than 500 pit sawyers who power saws are uncountable have been illegally operating and caring out illicit mining deeper into the forest   Bio Mountain for six months up to one year now.”

She said: “The illegal activities of these Sierra Leoneans are fast depleting the forest of the Bio-Mountain.”

Forester, Varney said: “The illegal operators are friendly and not harmful, but no arrest was made, report  sent to Monrovia, has made authorities reinforced  and move in to conduct further investigations to curtail the practice.”

Other participants from Grand Cape Mount County also spoke of Guineans nationals being involved in similar operations in that county.

They attributed the situation to the lack of enough inspectors from the FDA, and the Lands, Mines, and energy Ministry.

Already arrangement and agreement has been signed between the Government of Liberia and a foreign concession Western Closter, to shortly mine the mineral rich, Bio-Mountain very soon in the Western part of Liberia.

 


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