Senate Requests Roadmap To Curtail Illicit Mining

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The Senate as a โ€œcommittee of a wholeโ€ has mandated the Minister of Mines and Energy and the Commissioner General of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) to draw up a comprehensive action plan to curtail the growing wave of illicit mining cross the country.

ย ย  The Senateโ€™s decision was triggered by a hearing on Wednesday with the Minister of Mines and Energy, Gesler E. Murray, and the Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney Sirleaf, along with the Commissioner General of the LIS, Robert Budy.

    According to a release, the Senate, as a โ€œcommittee of a wholeโ€, cited the relevant authorities to address and find a workable solution with respect to illicit mining across the County as raised by many Senators.

   During the hearing, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Mines, Energy and Natural Resources, Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Simeon B. Taylor, indicated that the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Liberia Immigration Service have reneged on their statutory responsibilities, thereby creating what he called a floodgate of illicit mining, which he said are mainly carried out by aliens.

   Senator Taylor at the same time noted that the LIS has the legal responsibility to deal with illegal entry into the country by aliens and foreigners, especially those involved with mining activities without the consent of the government.

   The authorities of the LIS, according to Senator Taylor, are reneging on their responsibility, which he noted is giving rise to rampant illegal mining.

   With respect to the Mines and Energy, the Chairman of the Committee on Mines, Energy and Natural Resources underscored that most of the problems in the mining sector are squarely based on the lack of enforcement by the regulatory and enforcement body.

   He at the same time cautioned authorities of the Mines and Energy Ministry and the Liberia Immigration Service to improve on its enforcement and ensure that illicit miners are dealt with in line with the law.

   During their appearance, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Gesler E. Murray, admitted that there are increased illicit mining across the county, but pointed to the lack of manpower and funding to enforce and monitor mining activities.

   The Mines and Energy Minister at the same time called for illicit mining to be treated as a โ€œnational emergencyโ€.

   In his presentation, the Commissioner General of LIS, Robert Budy, also cited the lack of officers to man the 176 inaccessible borders. Out of the 176 border towns, Commissioner Budy stated that only 46 are accessible by road and which are being manned by LIS officers.

ย  ย For his part, the Minster of Internal Affairs, Varney Sirleaf, called for the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) to be deployed in order to curtail the issue of illicit mining.

L-R: Minister of Mines and Energy, Gesler E. Murray, Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney Sirleaf, and the Commissioner General of LIS, Robert Budy
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