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Senate poised to investigate Gao Feng’s mining activities

Before Senator Amara Konneh’s complaint against the Chinese national, a recent media investigation unveiled troubling evidence regarding manipulations and clandestine activities within the mining sector.

Monrovia, May 1, 2024: Gao Feng, a Chinese national dubbed the “Real Minister,” has come under the Liberian Senate’s radar, and modalities are being worked out to launch thorough investigations into his activities within the mining sector.

Gao, also known popularly as Barry, has gained notoriety as a prominent foreign player in the country’s mining sector. His moniker, “the Real Minister,” reflects the significant power and control he wields within the Mines and Energy Ministry, especially during the immediate past regime. 

However, some top Capitol Hill sources say it is now time to end Gao’s alleged clandestine activities within the sector.

Gbarpolu County Senator Amara Konneh has already placed Gao on the Senate’s radar, calling on his colleagues to launch an investigation into the Chinese national’s activities. 

Konneh’s Gbarpolu is reportedly the worst victim of the “Real Minister” clandestine mining activities in the country.

Along with fellow Senator Botoe Kanneh, Konneh has written the Senate to subject Barry to an investigation.

“Our county, Gbarpolu, is mineral-rich, but its resources are being mortgaged to one Chinese national, Mr. Gao Feng (aka Barry), also commonly referred to as “the Minister of Mines and Energy,” Konneh wrote on his Facebook page recently. 

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“He is allegedly using Liberian proxies to operate his illicit mining empire in Gbarpolu County, specifically in Belle Yalla, Henry Town, Monakorlleh, and parts of Gbarma Diatrict using at least 20 excavators and 12 washing plants for gold and diamonds, destroying the environment, polluting water sources, and probably evading taxes. Gbarpolu did not benefit from the reported growth in mining.”

“On the Senate floor, we argued our (Senator Botoe Kanneh and I) communication to our colleagues to launch an immediate investigation into these allegations. Stay tuned!” Senator Konneh said.

Before the Gbarpolu Senator’s complaint, a recent media investigation unveiled troubling evidence regarding manipulations and clandestine activities at MME. The investigation reveals a Chinese national known as “Barry” or “the Real Minister” operating within the MME and allegedly engaging in bribery, illegal license issuance, and a complete disregard for mining regulations.

Gao Feng is said to have collaborated with former ministers to further his company interests. These companies include Urban & Rural Services Inc., Xin Li Da Investment Development Ltd., and Scott Investment Incorporation. Among the alleged offenses, Gao Feng reportedly paid former ministers a substantial sum of US$350,000 to secure two Prospecting Licenses for Urban & Rural Services Inc., despite overlapping with the active Exploration License of NEO Global Mines & Minerals Inc.

Reported illicit mining spots for Barry within Gbarpolu County:

Belle Yallah Town, Belle District, Gbarpolu County. Barry allegedly used Scott Investment Incorporation, Urban & Rural Services Inc., and Xin Li Da Investment Development Ltd. to conduct illicit massive mining with Twelve (12) excavators and Eight (8) washing plants since March 2023 without any proper mining licenses and encroaching NEO Global Mineral & Mines Inc. Exploration license granted area. The production of this illicit mining method produced a minimum of 8,000.00 grams of gold per day, equivalent to US$584,000.00 per day.

Monakorlleh Town, Zalakai Mining District, Gbarpolu County. Gao Feng a.k.a Barry used Scott Investment Incorporation to conduct illicit massive mining with Six (6) excavators and Four (4) washing plants since March 2023, without any proper mining licenses, and encroaching Petronotre Liberia Inc. Exploration License granted area. 

The production for this illicit mining produced a minimum of 5,000.00 grams of gold per day, equivalent to US$365,000.00 per day. Gblita, Henry Town, Gbarpolu County. Gao Feng, a.k.a Barry, has been conducting illicit mining with four (4) excavators and two (2) washing plants since November 2023 without any proper mining licenses. The production for this illicit mining is unknown and needs further investigation.

One of the documents 

Furthermore, Urban & Rural Services Inc., under Gao Feng’s ownership, is accused of conducting large-scale mining operations within the area intended for NEO Global Mines & Minerals Inc., causing significant damage to exploration infrastructure. The operation is said to produce a daily minimum of 8,000 grams of gold, equivalent to $480,000, evading substantial government taxes.

Additionally, evidence suggests that Gao Feng revoked exploration licenses at will, conspiring with Scott Investment Incorporation to apply for an area previously granted to NEO Global Mines & Minerals Inc. The latter’s license was swiftly revoked and transferred to Scott Investment Incorporation within a matter of minutes.

Gao Feng’s activities also extended to hindering NEO Global Mines & Minerals Inc.’s Reconnaissance License while favoring Xin Li Da Investment Development Ltd. for two Exploration Licenses in Grand Bassa County, despite pending complaints and legal violations.  Gao could not be reached immediately for comment as he is reported to be out of the country.

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