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Stein Bock admits to poor facilities

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Stein Bock Liberia Block Manager has admitted that its mobile clinic service and rented housing facility are not up to standard. Speaking to reporters on June 17, 2014 in Margibi County, Block Manager Andrew Yancy, said besides the issues about the health facility which is a mobile clinic and rented housing facility for workers, all other allegations made against the company, including claims of bad labor practices are misleading.

It can be recalled that recently, an advocacy group under the banner, Concern Movement for the Protection of the Natural Resources in Margibi County, accused the company, currently operating in District #5, Margibi County for allegedly practicing bad labor.

Stein Bock Liberia commonly known as Bag Rock is a mining company in partnership with a Ghanaian company, NARH GLOBAL, extracting rocks in the district and shipping them through the port of Buchanan in Grand Bassa County.

Stein Bock has operated in the district for over two years. It initially started operation in Konoquelleh Clan but has extended to Gibi District. The chairman of the Concern Movement for the Protection of the Natural Resources in Margibi County in an interview with reporters recently in Kakata, said the company has failed to employ qualified Liberians.

Mr. Brooks Fayiah claimed the company has employed 80-85% Ghanaians while Liberians are not getting employment opportunities, especially in top positions. He explained that section 9.2 of the exploration law of Liberia provides that a company operating in the Country should provide training for qualified and unqualified Liberians in order for them to occupy managerial and administrative positions, something he said the company has not done.

According to him, the company has also failed to construct a hospital or a clinic in the area, but is involved in running mobile clinic and renting motels for employees.

Mr. Fayiah warned of a potential earthquake in Margibi County because the machinery or excavators the Company operates are damaging the land, stressing that the under layer of the soil is being destroyed.

Mr. Fayiah said the Company is not properly refilling holes left behind after the rocks are extracted, thereby risking the lives of citizens. He further warned that if the land is not protected, a landslide could erupt in the future in the county that cost lives. He noted that since the company started operation two years ago, it has not presented any MOU that the citizens can see and make injections.

When asked what the group wants, Mr.  Fayiah said they want to see copy of the MOU signed between the company and the Government of Liberia, particularly the issue of employing Liberians in managerial positions as well as meeting corporate social responsibility in the county. But reacting to the claims, Block Manager Andrew Yancy said Stein Bock has no contractors; instead, he said all of its workers are fully employed.

Mr. Yancy said many of the top positions at Stein Bock are being occupied by Liberians, including himself, adding  that Ghanaians are occupying top positions in NARH GLOBAL, its partner, because Liberians who were vetted by the company are not qualified.

According to him, it sometimes becomes a drama to see Liberians who want to work with NARH GLOBAL unable to operate yellow machines. He said though there are plans by NARH GLOBAL to train Liberians for employment, management does not want to waste time with the job because it is contractual agreement.

Concerning the issue about the open pits in the area, he said they will cover them after the operation in line with agreement signed. Mr. Yancy stated that Stein Bock is operating on a Class B agreement due to its classification by the Government of Liberia.

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