Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Mines and Energy, has described as a serious violation of Liberia’s Mineral and Mining Laws, the constant interference and involvement of traditional people into the work of the Inspectorate Division of the Mines and Energy Ministry, when the Internal Affairs Ministry is a ranking Member on the special technical committee Government set up against illicit and illegal Mining. A press release signed by the Head of Public Relations at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Richard Manuba said the Inspector-General for Mines, J. Obediah Z. Arku, told Journalists in Monrovia that the use of traditional practices against Mining Inspectors is robbing the Government of needed and required revenue which undermines national development and economic growth. IG Arku said, when his Inspectors are in the field carrying out enforcement of the Country’s Mineral and Mining Laws to ensure that Miners in Class ‘C’ category are in full compliance, they [Inspectors] are always scared away by local government authorities such as Town/Clan and Paramount Chiefs, and other traditionalists. “They willfully put out Country-devil which impedes the free movement of our Mineral inspectors, most of whom are not members of the traditional societies. This keeps our Inspectors indoor for number of days which practically stops them from working in the Mining Town/Site.” Mr. Arku lamented. From practical experience in the field, Mr. Arku disclosed that some of the Miners who are adamant to compliance with the Law, are shielded by people of the Towns and local government authorities he earlier mentioned. Expatiating further, Inspector-Genersl Arku divulged that the Miners [allegedly] pay out perquisites (money) in return for unlawful protection against the Law. “It would amaze you to know that in some instances, the Townspeople and even those in leadership pretend to be the owner (s) of the illegal Dredges these aliens [mostly Ghanaians] and Liberians alike are operating on our water bodies in Towns and Villages in the hinterland of our Country.” He explained that when the Inspectors reach out to a faraway/distant mining site having trekked several hours, almost all of the illicit Miners run into hiding due to tip-off their local hosts pass onto them. This, Mr. Arku said makes revenue collection difficult because there are penalties under the Law for illicit and illegal mining. He however reported progress that five of the Ghanaian illicit Miners, with assistance from State security were arrested in Feninken Town, on the outskirts of Barclayville City, Grand Kru County, and have been processed by Magisterial Court authorities for prosecution. They [Ghanaians] were found at mining sites without legal residency documents, have no mining and mineral right as they were not in possession of Class ‘C’ Mining License which costs US$150.00 per annum, and more interestingly, all of the illicit Miners expected to be prosecuted in Grand Kru were caught with Mercury which like the Dredge, is a banned substance declared by Government through a moratorium by Mines and Energy Minister, Gesler E. Murray. No Miner is supposed to use Mercury for mining of Gold or other mineral resources of the Country because of its dangerous nature. Recent enforcement efforts by the Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of Mines and Energy have received commendations from the Minister Murray who in December last year launched a fight against Dredge/illicit mining coupled with the use of Mercury. Minister Murray in the government’s moratorium, mandated Mineral inspectors to curtail the use of Dredges and Mercury for Gold mining and confiscate all materials and equipment being used by illicit and illegal Miners across the Country, levy fines enshrined in the Mineral and Mining Law, and prosecute violators through the Justice Ministry. Mines Inspector-Genersl Arku’s latest media statement comes in the wake of recent operational activities the Ministry’s Inspectors have been carrying out in the Southeast amid associated constraints he outlined earlier, plus logistical challenge of lack of vehicles to transport confiscated items to headquarters in Monrovia. He expressed thanks to German NGO GIZ for donation of six Honda Motorbikes which he says are significantly impacting the function of the Inspectorate. But, Mr. Arku is pleading with the country’s donor partners and other counterparts for additional assistance such as Motorola Communication devices, uniforms/protective gears, plus some more Motorbikes for effective Mineral inspection. During the recent Inspection activities, several illegal Dredges were disabled at illicit mining sites in Grand Kru, Rivergee, Maryland and the work was relaxed in Grand Gedeh County for administrative reasons. Mr. Arku assured the public that his Team of Inspectors headed by the Deputy Inspector-Genersl for Mines, Adolphus M.G.D Gleekia, will make a return to the Southeast within this February to complete work in untouched areas including Grand Gedeh County.

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Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Mines and Energy, has described as a serious violation of Liberia’s Mineral and Mining Laws, the constant interference and involvement of traditional people into the work of the Inspectorate Division of the Mines and Energy Ministry, when the Internal Affairs Ministry is a ranking Member on the special technical committee Government set up against illicit and illegal Mining.

A press release signed by the Head of Public Relations at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Richard Manuba said the Inspector-General for Mines, J. Obediah Z. Arku, told Journalists in Monrovia that the use of traditional practices against Mining Inspectors is robbing the Government of needed and required revenue which undermines national development and economic growth. IG Arku said, when his Inspectors are in the field carrying out enforcement of the Country’s Mineral and Mining Laws to ensure that Miners in Class ‘C’ category are in full compliance, they [Inspectors] are always scared away by local government authorities such as Town/Clan and Paramount Chiefs, and other traditionalists.

“They willfully put out Country-devil which impedes the free movement of our Mineral inspectors, most of whom are not members of the traditional societies. This keeps our Inspectors indoor for number of days which practically stops them from working in the Mining Town/Site.” Mr. Arku lamented.

From practical experience in the field, Mr. Arku disclosed that some of the Miners who are adamant to compliance with the Law, are shielded by people of the Towns and local government authorities he earlier mentioned. Expatiating further, Inspector-Genersl Arku divulged that the Miners [allegedly] pay out perquisites (money) in return for unlawful protection against the Law.    “It would amaze you to know that in some instances, the Townspeople and even those in leadership pretend to be the owner (s) of the illegal Dredges these aliens [mostly Ghanaians] and Liberians alike are operating on our water bodies in Towns and Villages in the hinterland of our Country.”

He explained that when the Inspectors reach out to a faraway/distant mining site having trekked several hours, almost all of the illicit Miners run into hiding due to tip-off their local hosts pass onto them. This, Mr. Arku said makes revenue collection difficult because there are penalties under the Law for illicit and illegal mining.  He however reported progress that five of the Ghanaian illicit Miners, with assistance from State security were arrested in Feninken Town, on the outskirts of Barclayville City, Grand Kru County, and have been processed by Magisterial Court authorities for prosecution.

They [Ghanaians] were found at mining sites without legal residency documents, have no mining and mineral right as they were not in possession of Class ‘C’ Mining License which costs US$150.00 per annum, and more interestingly, all of the illicit Miners expected to be prosecuted in Grand Kru were caught with Mercury which like the Dredge, is a banned substance declared by Government through a moratorium by Mines and Energy Minister, Gesler E. Murray. No Miner is supposed to use Mercury for mining of Gold or other mineral resources of the Country because of its dangerous nature.

Recent enforcement efforts by the Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of Mines and Energy have received commendations from the Minister Murray who in December last year launched a fight against Dredge/illicit mining coupled with the use of Mercury. Minister Murray in the government’s moratorium, mandated Mineral inspectors to curtail the use of Dredges and Mercury for Gold mining and confiscate all materials and equipment being used by illicit and illegal Miners across the Country, levy fines enshrined in the Mineral and Mining Law, and prosecute violators through the Justice Ministry.

Mines Inspector-Genersl Arku’s latest media statement comes in the wake of recent operational activities the Ministry’s Inspectors have been carrying out in the Southeast amid associated constraints he outlined earlier, plus logistical challenge of lack of vehicles to transport confiscated items to headquarters in Monrovia. He expressed thanks to German NGO GIZ for donation of six Honda Motorbikes which he says are significantly impacting the function of the Inspectorate. But,    Mr. Arku is pleading with the country’s donor partners and other counterparts for additional assistance such as Motorola Communication devices, uniforms/protective gears, plus some more Motorbikes for effective Mineral inspection.

During the recent Inspection activities, several illegal Dredges were disabled at illicit mining sites in Grand Kru, Rivergee, Maryland and the work was relaxed in Grand Gedeh County for administrative reasons. Mr. Arku assured the public that his Team of Inspectors headed by the Deputy Inspector-Genersl for Mines, Adolphus M.G.D Gleekia, will make a return to the Southeast within this February to complete work in untouched areas including Grand Gedeh County.

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