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As WONES-SL visits two chiefdoms in Pujehun…

Youths call on EPA to grant West African Resource Mining license

By Jariatu Bangura

Some Youths in Sorogbema and Kpaka chiefdoms in Pujehun District, following a visit to both chiefdoms by the Women’s Network for Environmental Sustainability (WONES-SL), have appealed to the government, through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to grant an operational license to the West African Resource Mining Company.

The youths appealed to the EPA for a public disclosure to take place in their respective chiefdoms.

The West African Resource Company, which is poised to embark on gold and diamond mining in both chiefdoms, would create employment for hundreds of youth if it is given the green light to operate.

WONES-SL is a non-governmental organization which promotes women in action for a safer environment, and works in partnership with the EPA.

The organization visited the community after it got information that the mining company was operating without having conducted an environmental impact assessment, or being certified by the EPA to operate as a mining company.

According to Ranita Koroma of WONES-SL, the EPA is working assiduously in making sure that mining companies abide by rules and regulations slated in the laws of the country.

She said the lives of grassroots must be respected and that the environment should not be polluted with their knowledge; the reason for their intervention to stop the operations of the company.

In his response, Mining Committee Chairman, Harry Caulker, said the company started operations in 2013 in the two chiefdoms although they are yet to be given an environmental impact assessment license by the EPA, which has led to delay in the commencement of operations, generating lots of questions and concerns among the community.

Section Chief of Kpaka Chiefdom, Madam Musu Rogers, said the agreement with the mining company was signed for five years and should be renewed each year upon the commencement of operations.

She appealed to government to restore water transportation, provide micro-credit, fishing gears, and to improve on medical facilities in both chiefdoms.