Universal Forest Corporation Debunks Secret Gold Mining Allegations in Nimba County
Tappita, Nimba County – The management of Universal Forestry Corporation (UFC) has denied allegations that it has signed an illegal deal with some officials of Nimba County to operate the Gboanipea Gold Mine near Tappita.
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]m
In one of its recent publications, FrontPageAfrica, quoting Rep. Larry P. Younquoi (Nimba District #8) reported that Senator Prince Johnson and Rep. Dorwohn T. Gleekia (Nimba District #6) along with some local authorities allegedly enter into a secret gold mining agreement with UFC.
Rep. Younquoi also claimed that the Superintendent of Nimba County, D. Dorr Cooper and some members of the County’s Legislative Caucus are unaware of the agreement.
However, in a statement issued on Sunday, August 25, the company, through its Public Relations Officer, Samuel D. Larmah and Site Engineer, Austin M. Kruah stressed that the firm is licensed by the government to operate the Gboanipea Gold Mines.
Excerpt of the statement: “To put the record straight, let it be known that the Universal Forestry Corporation (UFC) is a legally registered business entity that has ‘Dealership License’ and has been doing business in the Republic of Liberia over the past two decades. The Universal Forestry Corporation (UFC) doesn’t only have Mineral Property (concession) in Nimba County but also in Sinoe and Gbarpolu Counties respectively.”
The company continues: “In regards to the Gboanipea Gold mining area, the company, after being duly licensed by the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Mines and Energy to do Class B mining at the Gboanipea Mines in Tappita District, and after presenting a letter from the Ministry of Mines and Energy to the local authorities to go in to a social agreement with said company (UFC).”
The release added that the “company and the community entered into the social agreement with inputs and the consent of the County Superintendent on June 16, 2019.”
“We want to notify the public that the Universal Forestry Corporation (UFC) is in no way carrying out secret or illegal mining activities as mentioned by Representative Larry P. Younquoi in the FrontPage Africa News Paper.”
Illegal mining has created concerns in Nimba County especially after a fatal mudslide incident in early February this year.
More than 40 illegal miners were trapped in a collapsed pit at the Gboanipea mine. Only three survivors and seven bodies were retrieved.
The incident drew international attention and an inter-sectorial rescue and relief effort was launched by the government.