Liberia: Villagers demand to know more about the impacts of proposed mining project
Author: Joaquin M. Sendolo, Daily Observer (Liberia), Published on: 18 February 2020
‘Community Concerned Company Has No Environmental Plan for Goldmine’ 12 February 2020
Kartee village, home to more than 40 members of the Kartee family, experiences its share of poverty. Residents of this remote area near Gbanepea Town, about a kilometer away from Tappita in Lower Nimba County, live in houses with mud walls and thatched roofs. They primarily drink from running streams and wells. Kartee’s poverty profile is a paradox. The people of the village might be poor but are situated in a mineral-rich region of Nimba.
Universal Forestry Corporation (UFC) acquired a class “B” license to mine gold in Kartee in May last year. However, villagers here are worried their farmland will be affected by the mining project. They say the company’s operation may deprive them of clean drinking water and leave without a plan that will get them make use of their land. About 40 illicit miners were killed in the village in February last year after their mine caved in, recording the worst mining disaster in Liberia after the “No-Way” Camp tragedy in 1982.
UFC has not done an ESIA as the law requires, despite Samuel Larmah, the company’s Public Relations Officer claims it has done so. An ESIA shows how the mining project will impact the environment in Kartee and nearby areas and the way of life there. It also shows how a mining company plans to address those impacts, including land reclamation when the lifecycle of its mine expires. “We will investigate the issue surrounding the operation of UFC to know their ESIA plan, but for now we cannot tell you that we know any mining company called UFC,” says Nathaniel Blama, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ESIA is a requirement under the Environmental Protection and Management Law of Liberia and non-compliant companies can be closed, fined up to US$50,000 and its officials serve a maximum 10-year term, or jailed and fined at the same time.
Related companies: Universal Forestry