Report from Kokoyah District, Bong County, speaks of the discovery of iron ore deposits in huge quantity. Bong County Senator Henry Yallah, who made the disclosure, told reporters in Gbartala, Bong County the ore was discovered by the American mining company AMLIB Mineral that has been operating in the area for 12 years.
Senator said the deposit is being studied to establish the quantity available, and that another company will carry on an assessment to determine the depth of the deposit and its commercial status. The Senator said he has been informed by the company that the iron ore discovered is a very high grade.
The discovery comes at a time when citizens of Kokoyah District and AMLIB Mineral are about to settle their differences over several disagreements about development. AMLIB Mineral said it has been prospecting for gold in the district about twelve years since it signed an agreement with the government in 2000.
But in May this year, citizens of the district asked the company to leave within one month or they would do whatever they can to get the company out for not providing social benefits to them. They accused the company of exploiting their resources, stressing that it should leave since it is unable to find gold, despite alluvial miners digging gold in the district.
During a meeting in June to settle the dispute between the citizens and the company, which was chaired by Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson Mappay, representatives of the company appealed to the citizens to leave room for negotiation to allow them go back to the drawing board.
Senator Yallah said at a meeting held with citizens and the company as well as members of the Bong Legislative Caucus on Friday in Monrovia, the company disclosed the iron ore discovery, but did not comment on the gold it has been prospecting for the past 12 years.
Though the company owes the district its 12 years benefit, it appealed during the meeting that it will pay for six years on ground that its activities were disrupted by the civil crisis.
Senator Yallah said after a closed door meeting between the citizens and representatives of the company, it was agreed that AMLIB pays for the six years which is in the tune of US$84,000.
He said the company will have to enter another MDA with government if it wants to mine the iron ore, saying it was only in agreement with government on gold, and not iron ore.
He welcomed the discovery and said it is good news for the people of his home district and the entire Bong County, noting the latest discovery will help Bong County in its development drive. Bong County is currently recipient of more than US$2 million annually from concession companies.