Liberia: National Traditional Council Recommends Halt to Mining Activities over Disputed Land in Gbarpolu County
Monrovia – The National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia (NACCEL) has called for the suspension of all mining activities over disputed land in Gbarpolu County to be followed by a survey to establish real ownership of the disputed area.
The Council, through its National Chairman, Chief Zanzan Karwor made the recommendation over the weekend at its national headquarters in Monrovia following the end of a five-month investigation into a case involves a Class “C” gold mining license operator, John P. Saah and a Class “B” mining company, Liberia Sheng Xin Deyuan Mining Company Incorporated.
Mr. Saah took over from the late Sumo Landyes, who was issued a Class “C” license by the Ministry of Mines to operate a 25 acres of land within an area known as Kwessi Camp, Gbarbeye Town, Weasua, while the Liberia Sheng Xin Deyuan Mining Company Incorporated was awarded a Class “B” license by the Ministry to operate within the same area.
Following Landyes’ death, the dispute erupted between the both parties and the case was forwarded to the office of NACCEL through its Chairman, Chief Karwor by the Ministry of Mines and Energy for a possible out of court settlement.
As part of its mandate, NACCEL is clothed with the authority to settle all traditional land matters as well as any other case of which the parties require an out-of-court-settlement.
Presenting its findings and recommendations to the Ministry of Mines and Energy, NACCEL said both parties should suspend their operations and remain calm until the recommended survey is done.
Said the Traditional Council: “Considering the mining license issued to both parties by the MME (Ministry of Mines and Energy), we are with the wisdom that all parties maintain their properties as specified in their documents of claim. We also recommend that Representatives from MME as well as the Council proceed to the disputed site for resurvey in the interest of peace.”
The Council further called on the Ministry of Mines and Energy to set up a vibrant legal advisory team to investigate such matter in the future if there is any recurrence.
It also called on the ministry to renew the Class “C” license which was previously awarded to Landyes before his death to Mr. Saah to claim the dispute in the mining areas and called on both parties maintain their area of operations as of now in the name of peace.
Meanwhile, Mr. Saah, in addition to the 25 acres of land concession area is claiming and addition 400 acres of land.
However, the Chiefs said during their investigation, residents of the area testified that there is no deeded land within the mining areas as claimed by Saah. However, they is advised him to seek redress through the court or seek the intervention of the Liberia Land authority (LLA).