BMMC MDA says Security protection Necessary

Following a committee’s hearing by some lawmakers on Tuesday in which they called for the withdrawal of solders and other state security officers assigned at Bea Mountain Mining Company(BMMC), a number of citizens have said that the Mineral Development Agreement calls for the protection of  the investment by the government.

Bea Mountain, a subsidiary of Avesoro Resources, got its first concession agreement for gold extraction from Western Liberia In 2001.

The MDA which was passed by the legislature calls for the protection of all investment in the country by government.

“We think that the presence of state security here was not done by mistake by the government,” Mr. Amara Folley, a resident of Kenjor told reporters on Wednesday.

He said in every society there are people with bad motives. But with such huge investment, it is important for the state to protect it. He added, “all investment in the country call for protection.”

He based his statement on an incident which took place in 2022 where some unknown people attempted setting the explosives magazine ablaze.

“Fortunately, the magazine was empty at the time and the fire was caught and extinguished early. The company informed the Government immediately after this incident,” he said.

According to Section 11.2  of the MDA signed between the Liberian government  states that a. The Company may, directly or by contract with a responsible provider of

security services, establish, manage and maintain its own asset and employee security and protection service for the purpose of protecting assets in the Production Area and in the immediate vicinity of other locations at which Company has or maintains property and assets through its own security force and to do so always in accordance with Law and rules and regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Justice relating to security forces. Such security force shall not bear arms and shall at all times operate subject to the authority of, and coordination with the Liberia National Police.”

In section b says  “In the event the Company deems it absolutely necessary to have armed guards for the purpose of protecting assets in the Production Area and in the immediate vicinity of other locations at which Company has or maintains property and assets, the Company shall make a written request to the Government. The Government shall provide armed guards as needed, which expense shall be borne by the Company.”

Since the company started its operations, it has embarked on a number of projects.

BMMC has constructed clinics in Kinjor, greatly helping to meet the health needs of citizens of the area. The company has over the years provided, and is still providing stipends to health workers and teachers with its host communities. BMMC has also rehabilitated major roads in the county, including; the Kinjor to Daniel Town Road, Kinjor to Jenneh Brown, Kinjor to Jikandor, Jikandor to Malina roads among many others.

“All these are being done due to safe environment. If there was no good security here, do you think most of these things would have taken place?” he asked.

According to him, approaching the general elections last year, the National Security team did an assessment of all potential Hotspots in the country and determined that the explosives magazines at Bea Mountain was a potential risk point.

It was realized that the presence of police was not strong enough to withstand any violent activities. So, the Ministry of Justice sought support from the AFL and the troops were deployed not only at Bea Mountain but also at LEC facilities like Mount Coffee.

He said, at some time, protestors nearly overpowered security assigned here and the company had to call for police to come. So, I think the lawmakers should look at this carefully before they regret in the future.

“What is interesting to note here is that those soldiers have not left their positions since they for someone to even talk about them going to engage with civilians in the communities. They are confined to their assignment area.”

He added that some citizens have attempted to burn some facilities of the company.

“A case in point   was the destruction of the company’s vehicle by some unknown people recently. It was state security that helped to restore calm there. Do they want for destruction to take place before they come in? I think prevention is better than cure.”

He said, the lawmakers should look at the investment and the people. Any country that does not protect investment is not a help to its citizens.

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