Africa-Press – Liberia. The Society for the Conservation of Nature (SCNL), an environment civil society in collaboration with the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Forestry Development Agency Thursday, September 16, ended a two-day training workshop for persons associated with artisanal and small scale (ASM) mining activities in Tahn, one of the towns around the Gola forest.
The training is a part of several activities under the GolaMA project which is funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF ) and implemented by SCNL. The project seeks to work with local communities using the bio-rights approach; a model directed toward building sustainable livelihood of forest residents where poverty can be alleviated through access to alternative community driven income generating activities and development initiatives.
Also, the training served as a learning platform and dialogue for miners, forest rangers, mining agents/patrolman, ASM eco guard including community miners and leaders to discuss, coexist and at the sametime encourage environmental and social safeguards, legal framework and the promotion of environmental monitoring within the ASM sector.
Making remarks, the Project Coordinator of SCNL, Richard Hoff, stated that the intent of the workshop was to enable the organizers and participants the opportunity to come up with effective ways on how to make mining activities sustainable particularly around protected areas and community forest.
“…that we will not have people digging holes to mine without reclaiming the land or making the land reusable,” said Hoff.
He, however, urged Liberian miners to be wise and not allow foreign miners to steal their birthright by allowing them[Liberians] to acquire class ‘C’ licenses on their behalf because only a Liberian is entitled to a class ‘C’ mining license.
“A Lot of Liberians will allow foreigners to benefit more from mining because they[foreigners] will give you for example 250 dollars and promise to mine for you and we foolishly acquired the class ‘C’ license for those foreigners to our own loss,” stressed Hoff.
The overall objective of the project is to encourage Sustainable local economies in forest corridors to contribute to securing a network of protected areas covering at least 30% of Liberia’s existing forest area.