Grand Cape Mount County – Over 1,000 residents of a mining community in Gola Konneh District, Garnd Cape Mount County are reportedly in danger due to alleged illegal mining on the Bea Mountain.
Experts say the danger is due to cracks on the mountain because of ‘illegal artisanal mining’.
However, residents including artisanal miners claimed it is the only means of livelihood and supporting their children in school.
“We know that the way the mountain crack and this mining work that we do under the mountain is dangerous to us but we have to do it because that’s the only way for us to survive and to support our children in school,” said Amadu Kromah, spokesman for the community.
Kromah said artisanal miners of the town were taken to the mountain by authorities of the Bea Mountain Company, a mining company operating in the district, to see the potential danger of illegal mining.
The company’s move was to dissuade the community from illegal mining, which experts say would potentially cause mudslide.
But the residents do not believe that the situation might lead to a mudslide, their spokesman said.
“When the people from Bea Mountain Company carry us to the place a few months ago, they told us that the mountain has a crack between it so we have to stop the mining business and to move from around the place but we don’t believe that mudslide will take place here,” he said.
Boima Sheriff, a mining agent with the Ministry of Lands, Mines, and Energy (LME) in the area told LocalVoicesLiberia he’s “strongly against people living around the crack mountain and mining under the Bea Mountain”.
Sheriff stressed that the artisanal miners’ action is not only dangerous but also illegal accusing them of working without a license from the LME.
“The action of the miners is very dangerous and some of them are working in that around without document,” he said.
“When some of my patrolmen told me that the people have them informed about that there is a crack on the mountain due to heavy rain, I immediate went along with some of the local authorities and we realized that it was true that the mountain was crack and we told the people to move,” he said.
He expressed fear that if nothing is done, there could be a mudslide similar to what happened in Mano River Congo in the 1980s.
“I am afraid, I did my education in Mano River Congo and I know what happened during the landslide during the 80s and recently we heard and saw on social media the situation that happened in Sierra Leone, lots of people died as a result of this same mudslide”.
He said Bea Mountain Company and authorities have agreed to relocate those residing around the crashing mountain area to Gold camp to prevent disaster.
“The good thing about it is that Bea Mountain Company has agreed to relocate the residents to Gold Camp to avoid disaster and they have agreed,” he said.
Haji Kamara, an artisanal miner in the area accused of illegal mining, said he and his friends and family have agreed to be relocated to Gold Camp by Bea Mountain Company.
“I and my friends and family have agreed for them to carry us to Gold Camp but we don’t know how we will survive because this is the place we get money,” he said.
Report By: Ibrahim Sesay