…but Paramount Chiefs says it has environment implications
March 24, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai
Heaps of granite stones with miners (left) but children were also engaged in the ugly development (right)
As stone mining industry explodes in Kambia Township, Paramount Chief of Magbema Chiefdom, Kambia district, P.C Bai Farma Tass Bubu N’gbak IV, has noted that despite the economic hardship in the country, the activity has lots of environmental implications.
P.C Bai Farma Tass Bubu N’gbak IV, who was speaking to Concord Times in an exclusive interview at his Kambia town residence last week, said stone mining was not taking place previously, but was now precipitated by increased in population and the seeming economic hardship in the country.
“At the water dam in Rokupr town, stone miners extracted stones under the foundation of the fence surrounding the dam. The headman of the village reported the matter to me and I had to force them to pave the foundation again,” he said, adding that they were going to monitor stone miners and the way they go about extracting stones from various places.
Another disheartening thing of the stone mining activity, P.C Bai Farma Tass Bubu N’gbak IV said, was the extraction of stones from the Kolenten River.
“The activity destroys the ecology of the river because most of the stones that are extracted from the river are the breeding ground for the fishes.
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If the stones are extracted from the Kolenten River, we will have shortage of fish in the market. Even the fishermen will go out of job if the situation continues. As I speak now, there is shortage of fish in the Kolenten River, because the stones where they used to lay their eggs have been extracted. I have warned them to desist from ugly activity,” he said.
P.C Bai Farma Tass Bubu N’gbak IV said some miners were in the habit of extracting stone from the hills but have been warned to stop, because the activity seriously contributes to degradation of the soil.
“The rocks hold the soil and if they are removed, that will lead to landslide. Even the stones at the Kolenten River used to prevent flooding but now that they have been removed, around August and September, we are in danger of flood,” he said.
He disclosed that the stone miners were not paying any tax to the chiefdom, adding that, “we are not coercing them to do so because we care about their livelihood but their means of survival should not destroy the environment and other things that are important to human existence.”
Asked if he thinks of any other alternative means of livelihood for the miners, P.C Bai Farma Tass Bubu N’gbak IV, replied that there was none ,stating that most of them were uneducated and jobless, while others did not have the necessary skills, hence unemployable.
He said all they were doing was to sensitise the miners not to extract stones from areas that were of environmental concern.
However, one of the stone miners ,Alimamy Turay, told Concord Times that he decided to mine stones because there were no job opportunities in Kambia district, coupled with the economic hardship hitting the country.
“I have a wife and eight children and all of them are going to school. I have to take care of their shelter, feeding, clothing, schooling and other domestic needs,” he said.