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Editorial: GOL should act to halt black sand mining

The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Mines and Energy, seems tight-lipped about a Chinese sand mining company’s mining, exporting, or smuggling of black sand from Liberia.

Recent video footage obtained by the NEW DAWN reveals hundreds of bags of black sand compiled by Chinese miners from Virginia, Montserrado County, ready for export.

In the video, a resident of the Waterside community in Virginia reports that Chinese miners export tons of black sandbags from Liberia monthly. The Chinese are also engaged in beach sand mining here, selling it to people and institutions involved in construction.

However, the mining of black sand for export is raising questions in the public about whether authorities at the Ministry of Mines and Energy are aware of this and have approved such exportation.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy authorities claim they are investigating the matter. But there seems to be a foot-dragging or lackadaisical attitude, with residents’ complaints growing louder by the day.

Black sand, also known as magnetite sand or iron ore sand, is a heavy mineral commonly found in coastal areas. Black sand is too much, though it may seem trivial at first glance, it has many important applications in many different industries.

Experts highlight the importance of black sand in the construction industry. Due to its high iron content, it is used as an additive in concrete and asphalt production. Adding black sand improves the strength and durability of these materials, making them more wear-resistant. Additionally, its magnetic properties make it useful in making magnets used in construction projects.

Black sand is also important in steel production because it contains significant iron oxide. Iron ore extracted from black sand is an essential raw material for steelmaking. Through smelting and refining techniques, iron ore is converted into steel, which is widely used in infrastructure development, automobile manufacturing, and many other industries. The unique properties of black sand make it an excellent medium for water filtration systems.

Residents and owners of land on which the Chinese are illegally operating describe the act as disastrous, calling on the government to “wake up” and protect the area from plunder. The environmental havoc of black sand mining has raised serious economic concerns among locals.

According to them, the activities of these illegal miners are destroying their land and having a devastating impact on the environment. They lament that this is a travesty against the State, as dredging is crisscrossing the Mangrove swarm “(Wetland)” preserved for Liberia’s environmental benefits.

We believe this is important and needs the government’s prompt attention to avoid our people being robbed of their God-given endowment in broad daylight while a few officials sitting somewhere benefit at the expense of the majority.

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