An official of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assigned to Nimba County is calling on the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice to immediately close the newly-discovered Gbanepea Gold Mine in Tappita District, Nimba County.
According to the EPA Inspector for Nimba County, David Zubah, this will help prevent more deaths occurring at the site.
Zubah, speaking to reporters upon arrival at the mine recently, also called for the deployment of more security personnel in the area to help prevent citizens from attempting to get involved with illegal mining activities again.
He said, the deployment of armed security personnel in the area will help maintain law and order as, according to him, there is a possibility for some unscrupulous individuals to use the present situation to instigate fear among peaceful citizens of the town through “unnecessary” violence.
Stressing his stance on the call for the deployment of armed security personnel to prevent people from loitering around the mining site, Zubah noted that there are many deep holes left in and around the area that could endanger the lives of children and inexperienced miners.
Scanty information surrounding the discovery of a gold deposit in the town came in nearly a month ago, but did not attract more attention until the incident which left over 40 persons mining gold in the town being trapped under the debris of fallen earth walls.
Since the incident occurred on February 9, only five bodies of the estimated 40 persons feared dead have been removed from the pit through the help of some earth-moving equipment, while efforts to find the remaining ones are yet to yield positive results.
Illegal mining is high in Liberia with Nimba County being no exception, but the latter that is suspected to claim the lives of over 40 citizens is the first of its kind in the county.
Meanwhile, President George Manneh Weah has expressed sadness over the deaths of the citizens in the county and has declared Monday, February 18, a holiday to be observed across the country as National Mourning Day for victims of the mining disaster.
Many citizens in Nimba County have welcomed the proclamation and said the President’s action speaks volumes to his good leadership.