Liberia: MMG Gold Risks Termination of Contracts with Gov’t for Failure to Live up to Concession Agreement
Bong – President George Manneh Weah has warned concession companies operating in the country to live up to their social development mandate or risk replacement.
President Weah said those companies operating in Kokoyah Statutory District risk termination of contracts if they cannot live up to their social responsibilities.
MNG Gold, considered to be gold giant company in Liberia is situated in the area, while Apha Logging, which is in Lofa also used the route.
According to President Weah, information from citizens that MNG Gold has threatened to leave due to the construction of a bridge leading to their operation site is regretful and must be rebuked by lawmakers.
Weah said government will not be deterred about a company threatening to leave, only because it has failed to meet the social needs of its community of residents.
“This is Liberia, and if it is our responsibility to make sure that road is good, bridge is good, then we should see how we can fix the bridge in the interest of our people,” President Weah said Saturday, during a tour in Kokoyah Statutory District.
“As citizens, we have to be clear because we cannot be spectators in our own economy,” he added.
Giving Liberia history of signing bad concession agreement, with only two out of sixty-six signed agreement deemed legitimate, President Weah said the onus is now upon him to change the narrative.
Bong, the home of Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor is currently faced with social development challenge, as citizens of Kokoyah Statutory District presented their plight on the company’s non-compliance posture to implement social development.
The Turkish gold mining company in 2020 begun a redundancy of 250 of its employees in the county.
MNG Gold’s Government and Community Relations Supervisor, Eugene J. M. Kollie and the Public Relations Officer, Lloyd Ngwayah in 2020, told reporters that management at the Turkish gold mining company took the discussion due to closure of the company’s open pit mine site in the county.
The company which the citizens believed would have rescued vote rich Bong County from underdevelopment is now a seen as a frustration to them.
Their frustration was expressed in a plight to President Weah during their engagement at an engagement meeting in David Dean’s Town on Saturday, February 13.
The citizens had placard in their hands complained that MNG Gold is allegedly carrying out bad labor practice, while at the same time illegally dismissing others without benefits.
They also feared that the company is threatening to leave due to failure of government to construct a bridge linking its site to the district.
They further complained that MNG Gold has also failed to provide them health center and safe drinking water facilities.
Their complaint was reechoed by Bong County Senator, Prince K. More, who stated that the MNG Gold has breached the concession agreement signed with government.
“Mr. President, MNG Gold signed an agreement to carry out open pit-site mining, but instead, they are now carrying out underground mining,” Moye said.
Moye believes MNG Gold operations is not in the interest of citizens of Bong County and also undermine development being craved for in central Liberia.
Moye also named lack of requisite administrators at some sectors of the county is responsible for poor development in the county.
“When we come to all these places, they will sit and give all the flowering words, but deep down their hearts, they are hurt,” Moye said.
He said some of these people usually carried ‘good news’ to President Weah, while the reality at the county level is different.
Moye then called on President Weah to work with those who share similar developmental ideas like him.
President Weah informed them that the contract with MNG Gold was never signed under his administration, but previous administration.
“So, the plan to abandon the area because of little bridge that they can fix is not in the citizens’ interest,” Weah added.
Therefore, he has emphasized the need that the National Legislature review the company’s contract.
He stressed the need for companies who are neglecting their social responsibilities to be replaced with others willing to address social needs of the community of operation.
“We need to be serious in what we do in the interest of our country and people, because there are a lot of things being compromised,” President Weah stressed.
“If a company that is doing logging and because of a little bridge, they want to leave, then your lawmakers should be looking for a better company that is willing to build bridge and stay.
“I encouraged you all to work with your lawmakers to get information on MNG Gold social development fund contribution to your district.”
President Weah said his government will not be deterred by any company which intends to neglect its social responsibility, but to get another that will seek the interest of Liberians.
President Weah assured the citizens that he will ensure that MNG social contract is checked thoroughly to ensure that things that should benefit citizens are addressed.
Meanwhile, MNG Gold Public Relations Officer, Lloyd Ngwayah did not respond to calls and text messages from FrontPageAfrica when contacted via mobile phone.