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Beach sand miners risk arrest

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The Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy has threatened to arrest and prosecute anyone or group of persons caught mining sand on the sea coast of Liberia.The ministry’s warning comes in the wake of severe sea erosion, affecting several communities, including West Point Township and New Kru Town, and destroying properties worth thousands of dollars.

Addressing community dwellers residing near several beaches in Monrovia and its environs recently, the Inspector of Mines at the Ministry, Mr. Prince N. Mamba, Jr., said the issue of beach sand-mining has claimed the attention of policymakers, environmentalists, stakeholders and the government.

He said many individuals within the society believe that beach sand was so common and apparently voluminous for which it is extracted from almost anywhere, indicating that the arbitrary extraction of beach sand is detrimental and has destroyed many properties, including the environment and human lives.

Inspector Mambu disclosed that recognizing the imminent threat to investment, properties and human lives within the affected localities government has taken practical measures to minimize the situation.

The Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, which has the responsibility to regulate, all mining activities in the country, has instituted several measures, including a ban on all beach sand-mining activities on the shoreline; and that miners should revert to river sand mining.

Mambu stressed that to ensure the ban is strictly adhered to, he was leading a team of inspectors from the Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of Lands, Mines, along with officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to monitor and inspect several beach sand mining sites in and around Monrovia.

During the inspection tour, the warned individuals interested in the business of sand-mining to revert to river sand-mining which has far less salt content and is used worldwide for construction and other purposes, adding that its solidity is very high as compared to beach sand which has high concentration of salt; moreover, river sand- mining is environmentally friendly unlike beach sand mining.

Speaking to reporters during the inspection exercise, the Inspector General of Mines also warned that anyone caught violating the ban will be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the law, further urging individuals interested in sand-mining to desist from beach sand-mining and take to the river to curtail the alarming rate of beach erosion.

He indicated that the inspection and monitoring of beaches will be done on a regular basis to avoid the constant violation of the ban by unscrupulous individuals. Beaches inspected during the tour include Nagbe Town, Government Farm in Marshall and Watanga in Congo Town, while OAU Village (Hotel Africa), New Kru Town, West Point, Banjor and 24 Street Sinkor would shortly be inspected.

By Emmanuel Mondaye -Editing by Jonathan Browne

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