By Mark N. Mengonfia email@example.com
MONROVIA-Johnson Willabo, Liberia’s Assistant Minister for Minister for Mines and Energy has highlighted power theft and artisanal mining as two areas the ministry is faced with.
Minister Willabo said millions of United States dollars are not realized due to power theft and artisanal mining, something he said is a serious problem for them at the Ministry of Mines.
He spoke Monday in Kakata Margibi County at a two day artisanal and small-scale mining multi-stakeholders workshop on environmental monitoring and human rights.
He said to complicate the situation, local authorities who should help with the regulations of those sectors are part of the problem.
According to him they have limited funding with a very low budgetary allotment; notwithstanding they are making little gains to write the wrongs.
Dredge mining is one of the places that is causing serious environmental issues that includes water pollution, killing the fishes and other inhabitants of the rivers and water bodies.
But the Ministry of Mines has destroyed more then thousand dredges since the Liberian government placed a bend one the usage of dredges according to the Assistant Minister.
Although there is a law that prohibits power theft- a law that is collecting dust on various tables, but the Assistant minister is equally requesting a “strong” non- bailable law that will regulate artisanal mining in Liberia.
He said,” It is not easy to police those in those people.”
Accordingly, they are unable to visit various artisanal mining site due to their limited budget which enables them to get logistics needed to have the work done.
“Our budget used to be 3millions,but it has dropped to a little over 1million” Mr. Willabo intoned.
Artisanal mining in Liberia is causing serious problem for the country because it is not regulated like large scale mining which it, too, has challenges as well.
Earlier, Abraham Graplie, the Secretary General of the Federation of Artisanal Miners of Liberia underscored the importance of the gathering.
He called on the partners to ensure that recommendations from the two days gathering are implemented to have a well-organized artisanal mining in Liberia.
The two days stakeholders workshop was held under the theme, “Strengthening governance, human rights band environmental management for the artisanal mining sector in Liberia through user-friendly tools, awareness and capacity building” and is being sponsored by the United Nations Development Program ( UNDP).
For his part, UNDP program coordinator, E. Abraham T. Tumbey Jr said the two days gathering will direct the path the artisanal and small scale mining.
According to him, they are working on users friendly simple English Handbook on Artisanal and small-scale Mining which is expected to be reviewed at the two days stakeholders workshop ongoing in Margibi County.