The Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy has, for the first time, launched the Artisanal Mining Roadmap for the mining sector in Liberia. The launch of the Artisanal roadmap in Liberia will enable the Ministry in the implementation of its activities with regards to the mining sector.
Assistant Lands and Mines Minister William S. Hines said the rural dwellers have Limited knowledge on issues of health and safety, and that their recovery remains very low, Inability to access credit or
microloan, and experience unfair returns during sale of product, because they Face several barriers to mine legally with serious difficulties in accessing their license.
Giving the background and logic for Artisanal small scale mining formalization of the project to the audience at the start of the program last weekend at the Belle Cassa Hotel on 3rd street sinkor, Minister Hines indicated that Artisanal Mining was being practiced by thousands of rural dwellers in Liberian as their primary source of livelihood.
The launching program, conducted under the auspices of the lands and Mines Ministry with support from international partners, including the GIZ, as well as Australian Aid, among others, also brought together officials of government from line Ministries and Agencies, Civil Societies, members of the Diplomatic Corp, UNDP, UNMIL Representatives and the chairmen of the Houses committee of lands, mines, energy and natural resources.
According to the Assistant Minister, gold mining began in the 1920s, while diamond started in the early 1950s, adding that that Diamond exported about 219,457 carats in 2014 from artisanal mines, while Gold Exported 19,935 ounces in 2014 from artisanal mines. Naming associated issues with the Artisanal Mining, Minister Hines outlined several issues, including Illicit Mining, Difficulties in tracking of minerals, Smuggling, Environment, Hazards, Health and safety, security, Social problems and the loss of revenue to miners and State.
Mr. Hines further disclosed that in order for the formalized sector to achieve its many objectives, it would require mining cooperatives, technical support to smarter mining and better regulatory structures, health and safety training/support and the environmental management education in the country.
He, however, said that if the objective of the Artisanal Mining sector is met, the government stands to achieve increase in revenue to miners and the State, sustainable livelihoods, social benefits to communities, tracking of minerals and would as well experienced increased transparency in the country.
The Deputy Minister for Planning at the Ministry of land, mines, and energy, Mr. Stephen B. Dorbor, indicated that the present groundwork is required to formalize the sector to be used as conceptual foundation upon which the ministry will develop Liberia’s AM regulations.
He added that there were four specific objectives of the regulatory roadmap – to present a high-level overview of the context of the AM sector and the groundwork that has been undertaken to date by the MLME to formalize the sector, to highlight the key thematic policy areas that form the basis for the AM Formalization interventions to be implemented, to describe the groundwork required to prepare the AM sector to pilot “mining umbrella organizations” cooperatives, which serve as organizational conduit for technical assistance to artisanal miners, and to enhance monitoring of the sector, 3 to present a preliminary activity plan and estimated budget which outlines how the AM Formalization Program technical strategy will be implemented.
By Lewis S. Teh