GOL Bans “Black Sand” Mining -Mandates MME to conduct investigation

MONROVIA: The Government of Liberia has swiftly acted on report that there are some foreigners in the country currently engaged in “black sand mining” and henceforth issued a ban order in the venture and mandated the Ministry of Mines and Energy to conduct an immediate investigation to unravel circumstances surrounding the “illicit mining” .

The position of the government was contained in a press briefing by the Minister of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism, Jerolinmek M. Piah yesterday during the regular MICAT Press Briefing held at the Ministry where he said that courtesy of a “citizen journalist, who recorded a video and shared it on the social media which showed some people including foreign nationals were seen uploading “black sand “ for exportation and had gone viral caught the attention of the government and decided to act swiftly .

“We found out that there were some people in our country recently who were doing sand mining, what they call black sand. A Citizen journalist posted a video showing huge pile of what is called black sand that were being prepared for exportation. That action caught the attention of the cabinet and at yesterday’s meeting a decision was taken that the Ministry of Mines and Energy should spearhead the investigation on what is happening. But meanwhile before that investigation can go on, we are going to ensure that the mining of black sand is stopped and the exportation of any black sand will have to be stopped.

“The quantity of black sand seen on social media video posted by a citizen journalist is alarming and the Government has moved in very quickly to ensuring the protection of our landscape and mineral resources.

“So we want to appreciate this citizen journalist who made this beautiful video to expose what was going on, got government to be aware and the government has moved very quickly. There is no record to show that there has been any concession in that area”, Piah said.

Minister Piah also used the occasion to disclose some of the outcomes from the third cabinet meeting held on Wednesday since the inauguration of President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, stressing that the cabinet was concerned about the 100 day deliverables promised the Liberian people by the President.

He said every member of the cabinet at the meeting was upbeat about what they have been able to achieve in the short period of time and are all ready to showcase their achievements.

“so  there will be a publication from the Ministry of information that will catalogue the 100 day deliverables, the achievements, sectors by sectors, institutions by institutions to show the citizens what have been done in the short period and what should be expected in the future”, Piah said.

He told the audience the meeting also looked at the deplorable conditions some students undergo in the country, especially in the rural areas where facilities for learning are lacking, adding that the ‘government is toying with the idea of ensuring that no child goes to school without sitting facility like what is happening around the country at some places”

He said the one child, one chair policy though still in its stage of discussion, will make sure that schools are equipped with facilities like adequate seating capacities where no one will go to school to sit on a plank or on the ground.

“What this policy seeks to do is wherever you have a school building where students are, nobody will sit on a piece of plank; nobody will sit on the floor, every child who enters a classroom will have a chair to sit on.  The ministry will be coming up with details and for the Minister of Education who has been touring the country, she will be available soon to tell us what she saw and what can be done”, Piah said

With respect to the mudslide disaster in Rivercess, Piah said the government elevated the incident for proper care with the visit of Vice President Jeremiah Kpan Koung to the area and assured the people, especially the victims about the concern of the government to alleviate their plight.

Towards the end of his briefing Minister Piah disclosed the intent of the government to create the National Tourism Authority that will address the issue of promoting tourism in the country as a key sector that will bolster the growth of the country, adding that he was assured by the Legal Advisor to the President that an executive bill is being worked out and will soon be presented to the national legislature for deliberation.

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