The Success Story Of Bea Mountain In Western Liberia

 

 

By Morrison O.G. Sayon Email: morrisonogsayon@gmail.com  Mobile: (231) 0775107709(WhatsApp)

Bea Mountain Mining Corporation, a concession complain operating in Liberia is one of the success stories of how concession companies are transforming the war ravaged country in terms of infrastructure development, human resource capacity as well as providing jobs for hundreds of Liberians mostly those in Western Liberia.

A concession agreement signed between the Government of Liberia and Bea Mountain Corporation states among other things that, “Bea Mountain Mining Corporation shall have the right to extend the term of this contract for additional terms not exceeding 25 years each upon providing the Government with notice, at least 1 year prior to the termination of the original term or any extended term, of its intention to seek such extension and, within 90 days after such notice, by providing the Government with a feasibility report which shall set forth the type and quantity of minerals that are estimated to exist in the contract area, or any part thereof, and describe in reasonable detail a proposed plan for the efficient and economic production of such minerals.

Since the signing of this agreement between the Liberian Government and Bea Mountain, the company has been honoring its social responsibility agreement under the concession agreement signed in 2001. Since Bea Mountain began its operations in Western Liberia, the company has elevated the standard of living in Liberia with its many contributions to Grand Cape Mount County where the company is presently operating.

The mineral agreement between the government and Bea Mountain clearly states that Bea Mountain Mining Corporation should pay the government royalty at the percentage rate specified from the sale of minerals from the production area. For gold, silver and diamonds, 3%. For all other minerals, as agreed but cannot exceed 5%. The royalty will be determined on a net smelter return basis for gold, silver, and gross revenue basis for diamonds. The payment should be made within 30 days after the end of the month in which the minerals were shipped….

 

The mineral agreement further notes that Bea Mountain Mining Corporation should contribute the following into a community development fund; US$100,000 for contract year 1 and 2, US$150,000 for contract years 3 and 4, US$200,000 for contract years 5 to 10 and US$250,000 for contract year 11 until end of the original term. The funds are payable to the government on or before February 1st of each period when the payment is due.

It also states that employment practices of Bea Mountain Mining Corporation should conform to labor practices and other applicable laws. Bea Mountain Mining Corporation cannot hire individuals who are not citizens of Liberia for unskilled labor positions. It should employ and give preference to employment of qualified citizens of Liberia for financial, accounting, technical, administrative, supervisory, managerial, executive and other skilled positions when they are available. There should be a progressive implementation of an employment schedule with the aim that citizens of Liberia will hold at least 30% of all management positions including 30% of its ten most senior positions within 8 years of the initial grant of the mining license. At least 70% of all management positions including 70% of ten most senior positions in Bea Mountain Mining Corporation should be Liberian citizens within fifteen years of the grant date of the mining license.

These are just brief notes of the mineral agreement signed between the Liberian Government and Bea Mountain Corporation. The company since the commencement of its operation in Western Liberia has over the years been cooperating with government’s demands and has even exceeded the citizens’ expectation by working with the citizens in fostering development in the operational areas in Grand Cape Mount County.  

In recent times, as part of its effort to enhance industrial harmony and carry out its corporate social responsibility, Bea Mountain Mining Company has been making some huge donations to the county, providing loans to underprivileged citizens in Western Liberia, carrying out a monthly feeding program for the elderly in those communities, among others as a means of working with citizens of the concession areas. Some recent donations of the company to the citizens include the presentation to citizens of a Kpo-Marvoh Development Initiative Incorporation.

The donation of the JAC KIA Motor Vehicle according to the company is intended to help the Kpo-Marvoh people. Making the presentation on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 in Kpo-Marvoh town, the Management of BMMC through its General Manager Mr. Reza Karimiyan presented the keys to the vehicle. Kpo-Marvoh is located in Kinjor, Gola Konneh District, Grand Cape Mount County. In DARBLO CLAN, Bea Mountain Mining Company (BMMC) also presented a cash of US$11,000 (Eleven thousand United States Dollars) to three clans in Grand Cape Mount County. In addition to that, the company presented 450 bags of rice and 30 gallons of Argo oil.  

This was in fulfillment of its commitment to the three clans; Darblo, Mana, and Laar. It is a monthly feeding program for the elderly in those communities. This was carried out after a Memorandum of Understanding was reached by the company and citizens in  Gola Konneh District. In the MOU, the company committed to providing monthly support to the vulnerable and elderly people in the district.  This support to the elderly is separate from its corporate social responsibility program.  Over the past time, the company has constructed a school, police station, market building, and Clinic and made check donations to other communities. The company said as a responsible entity, it sees it necessary to give more support to the communities in which it operates. Making the presentation of the items, the Community Relations Superintendent, Mr. Henry Vincent said a total of 450 bags of rice, 90 gallons of oil and a cash amount of $US11, 250 for the three clans. (US$3750 for each) were given.

 

These many gestures on the part of Bea Mountain prompted the Statutory District Superintendent, Frank Sheriff to commend the company for living up to its commitment. “Fulfillment of commitment is good. When you commit and fulfill. We are one family,” he told a huge gathering of citizens of Grand Mount County. According to him, such a gesture from the company was welcoming and shows that   BMMC was concerned about the welfare of the people living in the communities in which they operate.

He also called on the citizens to see this gesture as goodwill for the upliftment of the elders and promised that the issue of violence will no longer exist under his administration but rather use the dialogue approach to resolve issues. The company at one point, pays US$450,000 to Affected GCMC Clans remaining US1.5M to be paid in Yearly Installments.

For a long while some citizens of Grand Cape Mount County were agitated against Liberia’s biggest gold exploration and mining concession in demand for their social benefits outlined in the Bea Mountain Mineral Development Agreement (MDA), and the direct 2% yearly payments from the company’s exploration budget. But Bea Mountain after consultation with stakeholders, presented the citizens of Lah, Mana and Darblo Clans checks of US$150,000 each last year, representing portion of the 2% exploration expenditure that authorities said amounts to US$2 million in total. This led to a big jubilation in the various clans in Grand Cape Mount County as Bea continues to live up to its responsibilities to the county. Each of the clans in the Bea concession areas received US$450,000. Dablo Clan where the company is operating the Kinjor Mines, Mana Clan where they are operating the N’dablama site and Lah Clan where the Matambo site is located are those communities that benefited.

 

Again, as a means of taking the citizens out of poverty and empowering citizens of Grand Cape Mount County, the management of Bea Mountain Mining Corporation (BMMC) disbursed a cash amount of US$50,000 to citizens of Kinjor as part of a micro loan and saving scheme provided by BMMC. The money according to the company was intended to help empower citizens of the area and take them out of poverty. The company also noted that the money is part of the company’s commitment to the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) agreement it signed with Old Kinjor and Larjor. The money has help citizens of the communities empowered themselves since the presentation was made by BMMC and to some extent reduce poverty.

Under the MOU, each Clan received US$250,000 annually for projects chosen by the community. This direct engagement has proven very productive; several community projects have been started under the management and leadership of the people themselves.

In addition to the increase in revenue to government, the company paid as taxes and royalty from the project, Bea Mountain continues to be a strong development partner to the Liberian Government especially in its communities of operation. In 2022, Memorandum of Understandings were signed with three Clans that include, Laar, Mana and Dablo and in 2023 with the Matambo Corridor, establishing a Clan Development Fund for each clan to be controlled by the people themselves and are being constructed by local contractors they chose with technical and financial support from the company.

These clans development are not obligation of Bea Mountain. Similarly, the company has supported the communities by expanding and maintaining many roads not directly related to its operation. The first sets of projects include the construction of the Beh-Gondor Clinic in Laar, the Jenemana Town and Gold Camp Town Hall in Laar Clan. In Mana Clan, Bea Mountain constructed the Than Health facility, the Varguaye Health facility and the Weajue Public School. For the people of Dablo Clan, Bea Mountain constructed the Mbaloma Clinic Maternity Waiting Area-Mbaloma Clinic Staff Bedroom Residence. Bea Mountain as a means of helping the citizens of Grand Cape Mounty County, constructed the Jene-Wonde Elementary & Junior High School and an annex at the Sarnor Town Hall in the Matambo Corridor.

As a Result of its many contributions to the country especially Grand Cape mount County, Internal Affairs Minister, Varney Sirleaf praised the company for its many interventions lauded the citizens for maintaining peace and in working with BMMC in moving their communities in the right direction. Being excited over the contributions of the company, the Minister assured that the government will work with the Bea Mountain to achieve great things in Grand Cape Mount County.

As a result of Bea Mountain’s relationship and numerous contributions to the country and the operational areas in Cape Mount, many of the citizens continue to commend BMMC Management for keeping to its commitment to improving standards and for helping to alleviate poverty in their operation areas and Liberia.

Bea Mountain has on numerous occasions, assured the citizens that it will not fail on what they have agreed on in the Resettlement Action Plan. Many citizens mostly beneficiaries who couldn’t hold back their joy have overwhelmingly lauded the company for bringing development to their county and at the same time empowering them as a means of alleviating the hard level of poverty in the county as I spoke to some of the citizens, they recounted how the financial intervention by the company has been a great help to them.

Another achievement of Bea Mountain which the citizens narrated as I interview them was that the company has accepted workers wage hike demands. Some of them said Bea Mountain informed them that it will accept its workers’ demand for a salary increase and standardization of employment status. The announcement by the Canadian mining company would see its workforce pay increase by 10 percent, which is one of the biggest in the company’s history in Liberia.

 

As one of Liberia’s biggest employers, Bea Mountain’s move would have great impacts on the lives of its employees, many of whom have multiple dependents.  In Liberia, a single employee is expected to respond to the need of at least four people; as such, a low salary becomes a low problem,

As we spoke, some of them said, “Bea Mountain agreed to increase all local workers’ salaries by 10% since the beginning June 1, 2023, to June 1, 2025, with immediate effect and this has happened and we want to thanks the company for this great achievement.”

In addition to the increase in revenue to government, the company has paid as taxes and royalty from the project; the company continues to be a strong development partner to the Liberian Government especially in its community of operation. In 2022, a Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) were signed with three clans-Laar, mana and Dablo and in 2023, with the Matambo Corridor establishing a Clan Development Fund for each clan project to be controlled by the people themselves.

Under the MOU, each clan received US$150,000 annually for projects chosen by the communities. This direct engagement has proven very productive. Several community projects have been started under the management and leadership of the people themselves and are being constructed by local contractors they choose with technical and financial supports from the company.

These clans development are not obligation of Bea Mountain. Similarly, Bea Mountain has supported the communities by expanding and maintaining many roads not directed related to its operation.

Some of Bea Mountain’s interventions in recently times including the construction of the Beh-Gondor Clinic; Jennemana Town Hall and Gold Camp Town Hall. In Mana Clan, Bea Mountain constructed the Than Health facility   

In all, the citizens of Grand Cape Mount are grateful for the presence of Bea Mountain as they are benefiting immensely from the many contributions of the company besides its corporate social responsibilities to the country and the county. Bea Mountain is indeed a blessing to Liberia and a true partner in the developmental drive of our country which was devastated by nearly 14 years of civil conflict, coupled with the outbreak of the deadly Ebola pandemic and the most dangerous Coronavirus (COVID-19) which affected the entire world.  

It is not doubt that Bea Mountain Mining Company is a success story as development is on course in Grand Cape Mount County; citizens are being empowered through the company’s intervention and many have been employed thus, catering to their families’ daily needs; citizens are benefiting from the company’s healthcare while loans are being given to help reduce the level of poverty in the country. Indeed, Bea Mountain Mining Company operations in Western Liberia have become a success story which Liberians in general are proud beneficiaries.

 

 

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