NACSUL Wants New Bea Mountain Concession Passed—-To Create Jobs For Liberians

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The National Civil Society Union of Liberia (NACSUL) has welcomed the signing into law of the mineral development agreement of Bea Mountain Mining Company (BMMC), a multinational concessionaire operating in Grand Cape Mount County, western Liberia.

   In a press statement issued in Monrovia on August 31, 2023, the civil rights organization commended Bea Mountain Mining Company for ensuring that its new agreement was taken to the people of Grand Cape Mount County for their input, which was successfully done and the citizens understood and accepted amendments to the previous contract, which they now say is in their interest.

   Grand Cape Mount County has witnessed a number of uneasiness from some citizens raising issues of discontent, but persistent efforts from the government and actors in the mineral sector has brought calm, thus culminating into the Legislature renewing the company’s concession for another 25 years.

   The National Civil Society Union of Liberia (NACSUL) said  the previous 25-year MDA of Bea Mountain proved that Bea Mountain provided many social services to the people of Grand Cape Mount County, including the construction of a hospital and school to enhance government’s efforts of educating its citizens, founding and supporting a football club, as well as the building roads linking surrounding towns and villages to the company’s operational facilities. Housing units have also been constructed by Bea Mountain while implementing its first concession agreement.

   NACSUL says it is particularly concerned about and welcomes increment in the county’s development fund to US$1 million. Also, the other aspect of the new MDA is the allotment of 50% of all senior management positions, as well as total amount of funds to the community and county, in excess of US$1 million.

   More to that, the extension of the agreement, according to the civil society group, helps to ensure that the 4,000 existing jobs provided to citizens are maintained, noting that the new amendment also recognizes the rights of communities enshrined in the Land Rights Act of 2018. Additionally, it Increases in land rental from $2.9 to $4.0 with 50% to the benefit of the local communities.

   Amos B.S Kanneh, President of the National Civil Society Union of Liberia (NACSUL), has called on lawmakers, especially from western Liberia, to take the lead in ensuring that the MDA is ratified.

   According to Kanneh, under the new Bea Mountain concession agreement, the ten percent undiluted funds will automatically grant citizens of Grand Cape Mount shareholders’ right within the operational franchise of Bea Mountain, while the local content will be given to citizens of Grand Cape Mount. And, as per the memorandum of understanding (MOU), the Government of Liberia (GOL) shall only be a witness to Bea Mountain paying the money into the citizens’ account.

   The new agreement states that the company intends to make an additional investment of US$520,000,000 (five hundred twenty million United States dollars). However, to proceed with this investment, they require an amended contract due to the three years remaining on the existing mineral development agreement.

   NACSUL said they have observed and followed a public hearing at the Liberian Senate that brought together key figures, including Minister of Justice Frank Musa-Dan, Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah, Labor Minister, Charles Gibson, Mines and Energy Minister, Gersler Murray, and the Chairman of the National Investment Commission, Molewuleh Gray, to provide reasons why the Senate should either approve or amend the concession agreement.

   The National Civil Society Union is calling for total cessation and  persistent protest actions that have been carried out by some individuals against the operational activities of Bea Mountain Mining Company, which is the largest concessionaire in Grand Cape Mount County in postwar Liberia

   The organization said they believe that such acts have the proclivity to scare away investors and, when such happens, it creates the scarcity of jobs and undermines development.  Kanneh said in the release that, with the new amended agreement, he wants dialogue to take preeminence over violent actions that distract government’s obligation to deliver on national development.

   The civil society group is at the same time commending the Liberian Senate for passing into law the new Bea Mountain concession, and expressed hope that the House of Representatives will concur in enacting the instrument into law for signing into law by the President.

   National Civil Society Union of Liberia said it particularly commends the high level of leadership exhibited by Senator Albert Tugbeh Chie, President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, whose insightfulness ensured that the company renewed concession met all terms and conditions as requested by Cape Mountainians. Now that the Senate has done its due diligence, the National Civil Society Union of Liberia is hoping that House Speaker, Dr. Bhogal Chambers, sees reason to rally with his colleagues in generating the requisite number to ensure concurrence with the Senate.

   The Civil Society group says it sees the passage into law of the new Bea Mountain concession as a major job creation opportunity for Liberians hailing from the western region of the country, which they believe will ease the burden on government.

   Amos B.S Kanneh, President of the National Civil Society Union of Liberia then called on Bea Mountain to do all it can to live up to every aspect of the renewed concession deal, as well as the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the company and the locals.

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