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Artisanal miners risk losing licenses

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The Ministry of Mines and Energy issues a new regulation, mandating all artisanal miners here to reclaim (backfill) holes dug during mining activities or forfeit renewal of their mining licenses.

According to a press release, Assistant Mines and Energy Minister for Planning, Research and Development, Johnson S. Willabo, gave the mandate at the end of training of over 60 mining agents and mineral inspectors in Smarter Mining Techniques held in Tubmanburg City, Bomi County recently.

Giving an overview of the training, Minister Willabo, Focal Person of the Liberia Forest Sector Project (LFSP) said artisanal miners had been involved in a system of mining in the past that negatively impacted the environment due to lack of training.

He cautioned the trainees to ensure miners desist from mining in protected areas, while thanking the Norwegian government for providing grant for the training.

Speaking further, he said the problem of deforestation in the mining sector has become alarming, stressing a need to reduce cutting down of trees especially, forest trees. The Minister explained that cutting down trees causes humans and animals’migration.

The refilling of pits, according to Minister Willabo, is meant to prepare the land for other uses after mining especially, agriculture and also provides safety for animals, human beings and the environment

The Deputy Minister further warned participants to desist from using mercury because it is a dangerous chemical that negatively impact human beings especially, women, adding that it is a chemical that stays under the earth for years when used to mine and may travel through creeks and rivers.

Also speaking, Deputy Mines and Energy Minister for Planning and Human Resources Development, Carlton S. Miller, re-emphasized the new regulation mandating miners to backfill their pits or risk not renewing their licenses.

He thanked the participants for undergoing the training and said government attaches great interest in formalizing the artisanal mining sector, so the ministry will do all it can to ensure the process succeeds.

During the training participants were taught various mining methods, including pit laying, benching, map reading and other safety methods. Press Release

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