Maryland shuts down four mining companies

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Maryland shuts down four mining companies
Maryland shuts down four mining companies

Africa-Press – Liberia. On several occasions, the residents alleged, the Chinese nationals mining in that area allegedly extended an apology for violating the community’s tradition.

Maryland County Superintendent Henry Cole has ordered the immediate closure of four mining companies for illegally operating in the southeastern county of Liberian.

The Superintendent has accused the companies of allegedly failing to attend a called meeting he had arranged.

He said the meeting was intended for the companies to present their mining documents to the county authorities and to explain their legalities in the county.

Unfortunately, he said only the Jupiter Mining Company attended the meeting. The other four companies, including the Soar Mining Company, operating in Gbeken Township; Dupe Mining Company, operating in Karloken; AB Mining Company; and a mining company belonging to District #3 former Representative Isaac Roland Blalu, failed to attend the meeting.

He termed the absence of the four companies as a signal that they are operating under the shadows of illegal activities.

Superintendent Cole emphasized that he has received several complaints from citizens linking him to the illegal operations of the companies in that part of the county.

“We have been accused just for these same companies, and I thought we could have found ways to solve this problem, but the companies are trying to play smart game with our people,” he alleged.

He urged the Maryland Joint Security to take charge of implementing the orders.

The Superintendent’s mandate took effect on Saturday, June 22, 2024, following several public outcries against illicit mining activities in the county.

In May this year, several citizens including residents of Gbeken town besieged the area of the Soar Mining company in demand of benefits for their village.

The residents alleged that the Chinese nationals mining in that area extended an apology on several occasions for violating the community’s tradition.

After the Chinese’s alleged apologies, the locals claimed they were forced into a social contract to get some benefits from their resources.

During one of the negotiations, the locals said they demanded the Chinese mining company pay LD$100,000 monthly and US$2,000 every six months for Surface Rental Fees.

However, they claimed that this agreement hadn’t been reached.

The community also disclosed that a verbal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) includes building of an elementary school, paying three volunteer teachers, paving the roads to the town, monthly dues, and erecting hand pumps, among others, were discussed with the company.

According to them, a copy of the MoU, which the Chinese company hasn’t officially confirmed, was sent to Senator J. Gbe-bo Brown for viewing before approval.

Once the MoU is approved and implemented, the locals believe they will enjoy their resources.

“As we speak, day and night, new Chinese nationals are coming in and out; we don’t know whether they [are] coming with paper from [the] government. We don’t know, but we think our people are the problem,” a source from the community alleged.

Meanwhile, the General Town Chief of Gbeken, Mr. Johnson Pokolo, disclosed that they haven’t reached an agreement with the company.

“So we halted their operation, and they came to apologize to us. But while apologizing, they asked the town for calm, and we did, with the condition that they should provide other benefits, which they haven’t done yet,” he said.

Due to the company’s alleged failure to meet its obligations, the Town Chief said the Town’s youth and women have stopped the Chinese operation.

He said they gave the companies a grace period after the intervention of the Karluway concerned youths.

“Let me say, we locals of the town are suffering due to outside forces. Though the town is blessed with these resources…, we are not getting [anything] as [a] people because companies visiting our area claimed to be sent by our government or by our Representatives and Senators,” he explained.

Speaking on behalf of the Chinese company, the black manager, Nyemah Sheriff, stressed that they haven’t gotten other permits, including the EPA permit, because they haven’t begun real mining in the area.

Several machines and Chinese nationals were seen in the area of their operation, but the black manager alleged that they were not mining.

“Yes, we came here in February, but since then, we haven’t begun normal work due to other pressures from the town or local county authorities,” he said.

Once normal activities begin, he assured that the needs and wants of the people will be addressed.

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