The recent commission by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of ‘The New Liberty Gold Mine’ in Grand Cape Mount County seems to ponder hundreds of citizens in the County who said despite of their County’s rich natural mineral resources many of them are drowning in abject poverty include the lack of good farm to market roads, and health centers.
The citizens speaking to our Correspondent in the County said they are presently in the state of disappointment despite of the huge quantity of minerals been shipped including diamond and gold from their county on a regular basis by the Bea Mountain Mining Company with little been done in the improvement of their livelihood.
One of the citizens who spoke to our Correspondent in the County and begged not to be named disclosed that stockpile of ounces of gold are being prepared for shipment, noting, “It is disheartening to see huge quantity of gold being ship out of our county with no improvement in our living condition,” our Correspondent quoting one of the aggrieved citizens in the County said.
Grand Cape Mount County is one of Liberia’s least development counties with the lack of basis social incentives; the lack of good roads, health centers and other infrastructural despite the presence of multi million dollars mining companies and others in the county.
During the commissioning ceremony which was attended by Liberian Government officials, the management of Company boasted of the initial investment of US$250,000,000 made into the Liberian economy, with two hundred million of that amount used to build a mining plant.
The management of the company speaking further estimated that over nine hundred thousand ounces of gold will be mined by Bea Mountain Mining Corporation during its 25-year operations in the country. The company said it has already made two shipments of Gold and is expected to make a third shipment, though the value of the two shipments was not stated.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Mr. David J. Readings, in remarks said his company had to take loans from South African Banks to kick start the project. He said there is prospect in the gold sector but fear that decline in the price of gold on the world may affect their operation.
“Madam President this is an initiative that started since 1997 and kicked off in 2011; but today we are proud to say that we have kept a promise to invest in Liberia and today Liberia is now among the world gold producing countries,” said Readings. He commended the Liberian government for its support to the investment and commended the people of the area who are the owners of the land for the peaceful and mature manner they have conducted themselves in handling their concerns.
CEO Reading told the gathering that the establishment of the mining company in that area has brought to those communities normal economic activities and the population has increased from three thousand to over fourteen thousand with the establishment of businesses.
As part of its human capacity development the company, through its CEO, said they have opened the first simulation training center in West Africa in Liberia and it has trained over twenty-eight heavy duty truck drivers. And more than ten of that number is women, some of whom are employed by the company.
In her commissioning remarks, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the commissioning of the company comes at a very crucial time and expressed joy, because according to her, the operation of the company will have direct impact in developing the lives of Liberians and the citizens of the concession areas.
President Sirleaf said: “I visited this mine about a year ago and there were certain things that impressed us in how the management was very clear on what their objectives are and what they intend to achieve but there was a relationship with the workers and community in where they operated that gave us a strong feeling that indeed this will be a success and we will not face what we are facing in so many places with community rebellion”.
The President continued: “This is not to say that the citizens of this community do not have grievances because already since I came here, I have heard some grievances but what it is that the company is able to listen to those grievances and find a means for cooperation to take place for operation to continue.” The Liberian leader commended the company for been around during the difficult period of Ebola and said she is pleased with the progress, success and cooperation the company has with the government and the communities.