MONROVIA – Amid rumors of a major concessionaire in Bong County, MNG Gold shutting down operations after some 7 years of doing business in Liberia, the management of the company has said it is closing shops but “slowing” down its activities due to the fall of the price of gold on the global market but the citizens are not seeing any reasons to believe the explanation coming out from company.
Allaying the fear of the citizens about departing from its operational site during a gathered meeting held with the citizens recently, a top management staff of MNG gold, who was introduced as Curak and went by the designation as General Manager said the moving of the equipment and other machines was in fulfillment of an agreement with Bea Mountain, in Grand Cape Mount where they borrowed them from and were returning them since the company no longer had use for them in the wake of slowing down operations.
He told the citizens that besides the processing plant, all other machines being used by the company were borrowed from Bea Mountain.
He assured the citizens who had gathered to raise concerns about a possible premature departure that the company will return to full operations where there is an upward improvement of the price of Gold on the world market and that the facility will remain in tact, stressing that the company is committed to their corporate social responsibility but raised no hope of any definite time of returning to business which further exacerbated the fear of the citizens.
Speaking further, the General Manager who spoke through an interpreter, said the company has been a major source of employment in the area since 2015 when it commenced operations where it offered direct job opportunities to 1,000 people, a record he did not prove by documentary evidence.
According to our correspondence who covered the meeting, the citizens read their concerns to the management through their spokesperson, Duwah M. Kangar, where they did not mince words when they said the company was closing down without fulfilling its promises and lack of benefits for the citizens.
The citizens maintained that the unceremonious departure of the company is a total violation to section 9 of the Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) between them and the company, quoting the section thus, “any party that intends to depart must submit a written communication to the next party”.
Against the backdrop of their grievances, the citizens want the completion of the ongoing vocational school, clinic facility, road rehabilitation, fulfillment of international scholarship that is yet to commence, provision of livelihood plans for them, amongst others before any exit. Anything to the contrary, according to the citizens, the plan of the company to exit should be halted.
At the well attended meeting, two lawmakers from the county made concurrence statements to the grievances of the citizens and urged MNG Gold to do the needful. District #1 Representative, Bong County, Alfred J. Hills asked the company to complete some of the projects, adding that the company overpowered herself by commencing all the projects once and could not complete them over the seven year period it operated.
Senator Prince Kermue Moye who also spoke agreed with Representative Hills for the projects to be completed in phases.
The former Deputy Speaker promised to communicate the issue with the Ministry of Lands and Mines with the view of getting the company to comply with its obligations.
Many are still wondering about the future of the district when MNG Gold Liberia has depleted the district with nothing tangible to be sure after its exodus.
Being a formerly gold rich area, the district, many say, is a death trap evidenced by their underground mining.
Many residents say there is no safe drinking water in the entire district based on the huge quantities of cyanide spilled in the district.
Their water sources have all been heavily polluted due to the cyanide.
In 2018, a reservoir facility containing chemicals belonging to MNG-Gold, overflowed with rainwater and later spilled into the nearby Sein Creek-a major water source for residents in district which has now over spilled into other water sources in the Saywehta Town, Kokoyah Statutory District, Bong County.