Monrovia - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia has announced that the 34 persons thought to have come in contact with the contaminated water during the chemical spillage at the MGN Gold Mines in Kokoya Bong County have no direct correlation of cyanide to the illness reported by the people.
Addressing the media on Thursday, November 9, the Deputy Executive Director of the EPA, Uriah Goll avowed that the surface water and ground water which previously contained traces of free cyanide are now free of any concentration of cyanide and community members are now allowed to use the hand pumps and resume normal activities including farming.
“We are pleased to report to you that the 34 persons that allegedly came in contact with the contaminated water were treated and medical reports from Phebe Hospital, MNG Clinic and JFK Medical Hospital confirmed that there is no direct correlation of cyanide to the illness reported by the people.”
“Surface water and ground water that previously contained traces of free cyanide are now free of any concentration of cyanide. Community members are now allowed to use the hand pumps and resume normal activities including farming, etc,” Mr. Goll declared.
On Sept. 27, 2017, a section of the geo-membrane layer of the tailing storage dam at MNG Gold mines in Kokoya, Bong County ruptured and resulted into uncontrollable discharge of slurry containing cyanide from the dam into the Sien Creek.
The discharge led to the contamination of ground and surface waters including hand pumps and the creek.
The situation also disrupted farming activities in some parts of Sayewheh town and along the affected creek.
The situation posed potential health hazard to the community and its inhabitants in which 34 persons were reportedly affected and admitted at major medical centers including the Phebe Hospital in Bong County and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital.
This resulted in the temporary closure of all hand pumps, a halt on farming activities and artisanal mining, as well as the closure of schools and referral of some community members for medical examinations.
Following the incident, the Government Inter-Ministerial Crisis Management Team (CMT), chaired by the EPA was immediately set up to probe the matter and work with MNG Gold’s management to ensure that the situation is brought under control and relevant actions are adequately taken to avert reoccurrence.
But a buoyant EPA’s Deputy Executive Director noted that all efforts have been made to restore the livelihood of the people of Sayewheh Town and repair the damage done to the dam, which failure resulted into spillage of cyanide-containing effluent in the environment.
He added that the company, as a way of demonstrating its commitment to its social responsibility and concern for the wellbeing of community members, has provided additional food items to the community dwellers during a transitional period of resumption of normal activities.
“Let me assure you that the community is excited and satisfied with the level of work that has been done by MNG and the Government’s CMT in remediating the crisis.”
“As we work diligently with the company to repair the damaged TSF, constant monitoring and compliance enforcement will be conducted during all mining activities.
The Government, through the CMT appreciates the effort of those who participated in the crisis management process,” he averred.