Monrovia – Addressing a news conference on Monday, July 16, the Deputy Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Randall M. Dobayou, II said the EPA fined Bea Mountain following an investigation that found the company liable of polluting the water of adjacent communities within its operation area.
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]
The EPA has ordered the company to make the payment to the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) within 72 hours and remediate the illegal effluence within 15 days and provide safe drinking water for the community.
Excerpt of the EPA statement: “The Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia has with immediate effect fined Bea Mountain Mining Corporation the amount of US$99,999.99 to be paid into the Government of Liberia Revenue through the Liberia Revenue Authority with an official receipt presented to EPA within 72 hours as of the receipt of the notice of fine.”
“… Additionally, Bea Mountain Mining Corporation is to remediate the illegal effluence discharge within 15 days and provide drinking water for the affected communities in the meantime. Meanwhile, the corporation is mandated to commission a Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) by an Independent an Independent Environmental Evaluator to determine compensation for the affected community.”
Dobayou warned that failure of the company to comply with the notice of violation within the stipulated period may lead to “drastic penalties including but not limited to additional fines, closure, imprisonment and or criminal prosecution where applicable.”
He indicated that on July 2018, a team of EPA technicians made an impromptu visit to the New Liberty Gold Mines in Gola Konneh District, Grand Cape Mount County to investigate alleged water pollution reported by some residents of downstream communities.
He further revealed that the team collected surface and groundwater samples at strategic locations within the company’s concession area; adding that their findings outlined a direct departure from specific from specific condition of through permit and the environmental protection and management law of Liberia EPML).
Earlier, he noted that in June 2017 the EPA authorized Bea Mountain to discharge wastewater from the Tailing Storage Facility (TSF) at New Liberty Gold Mines in compliance with Liberia with the Liberia Water Quality standards of 1987 and the IFC Effluent Guideline.
The permit, according to him provided discharged limits at a different point across the mixing zone to effectively increased retention time and promote cyanide degradation.
However, the Deputy EPA Executive Director noted that the investigation found that the company is in violation of the Environmental Permit, Condition 5.2 which ensures that the limit of free Cyanide in wastewater from the TSF-R does not exceed 0.1mg/, adding that result implies that the level of free cyanide is nearly four times the maximum discharged limit.
According to him, Bea Mountain breached Part V of the Environmental Protection and Management Law of Liberia (EPML) that prohibits water pollution.
The law states that any person who discharges or applies or permits any person to dump or discharge any poison, toxic, noxious, or obstructing matter, radioactive waste or other pollutants into any waters of Liberia, which is likely to cause harm to human health or aquatic environment in contravention of the water pollution control standards established under the law shall be guilty of the offence.
He added that with the discharge of illegal effluence into the water by the company also violates Part VI of the EPML which gives protection to rivers, lakes and wetlands and part of the law that prohibits the discharge of hazardous substances, chemicals, and materials or oil into the environmental and spillers liability.