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GeneralLiberia news

Senate probes alleged illicit mining in Gbarpolu 

Two Gbarpolu County Senators have referenced a Chinese national named Gao Feng, who allegedly operates an illicit mining empire throughout Liberia, using proxies Roland Carten and Mr. Samuel Fahn.

By Ethel A. Tweh

Monrovia, April 26, 2024: The Liberian Senate’s plenary has mandated its committee on Lands, Mines, Energy, Natural Resources, and Environment to investigate concerns of suspicious mining activities in Gbarpolu County.

The Senate’s Plenary decision was based on official communication from Senators Amara M. Konneh and Botoe S. Kanneh of Gbarpolu County. 

In their joint communication to the Plenary on Thursday, 25 April 2024, the two Senators referenced a Chinese named Gao Feng, commonly known as “Barry,” who allegedly operates an illicit mining empire throughout Liberia.

The suspect allegedly uses proxies Mr. Roland Carten and Mr. Samuel Fahn, both of Gbarpolu County.

“It has been reported that he is currently illegally mining in Gbarpolu County, specifically in Belle Yallah, Henry Town, Monakorlleh, and some parts of District #3 using at least twenty (20) excavators at twelve (12) washing plants,” the senators lamented.

They added that the Ministry of Mines and Energy allegedly revoked the Class C licenses it issued to Liberian artisanal miners in the country and issued licenses to Mr. Feng to operate in the same sites as the revoked licenses.

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They complained that this had ended their citizens’ sources of livelihood, deeming it wrong and unacceptable if proven true.

According to the Senators, the companies Mr. Feng allegedly owns and operates in Gbarpolu County include Urban and Rural Services Inc. Exploration with License MEL 8000522, Scott Investment Incorporation Exploration with License MEL 9005123, and Xin Li Da Investment Development Ltd. Exploration License MEL 7008623.

The Gbarpolu Senators indicated that they believe Mr. Feng may have violated several laws, including the Mineral and Mining Act of 2000, including Section 8.2 under the Restoration of Site, which requires that each holder of a Mineral Right shall be responsible for restoring the terrain of any terrain of any land disturbed by operation.

“We, therefore, request that you please invite Mr. Feng, the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, Mr. Fahn and Carten to answer these allegations levied upon them,” they pleaded.

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