Illegal Miners Flee Operational Site

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Miners operating two illegal mines outside Monrovia have fled the communities; three days after a DayLight investigation exposed them. Over the weekend, mine workers of Quezp Mining Company began fleeing Brewerville and Royesville, where they have mined zircon sand for the last two years. The mineral is used in the ceramics industry, with Australia and Africa as its newest markets.  The investigation unearthed that Quezp does not have a license for the suburban and rural Montserrado communities. Instead, it has two prospecting licenses for Kpayan District, Sinoe County. Video and pictures shot by a resident and The DayLight show Quezp’s workers dismantling a plant and moving mining equipment away from Brewerville. “We are happy that nobody will be mining sand on the beach anymore,” said Oliver Wallace, a resident of Brewerville. “What they were doing over there was [negatively] affecting the community.” The DayLight photographed piles of abandoned zircon sand at Quezp’s transferring location in Royesville. Tire impressions in the area had been erased, indicating that the company’s earthmovers had not been there for some time. Residents who worked with the company in the illicit trade expressed dismay and frustration over its abrupt departure. “They are moving and I don’t know where they are going for now because no one is saying anything to us,” said Junior Sirleaf, a Royesville resident who was involved in the illicit trade. “I am just hurt that I and some Liberians were used in the illegal sand mining business.” Terrance Collins, the owner of Quezp, said an official had told him to shut down after the publication. Collins declined to identify the person. “I don’t want to get in any more trouble as I am already in,” Collins told The DayLight via WhatsApp. He said he was in Turkey on a medical trip. “When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” he added.   The Department of Mines at the Ministry of Mines and Energy declined to speak on the matter. Illegal mining carries a fine of up to US$2,000, a 24-month prison term, or both fine and imprisonment, if convicted by a court. Source: thedaylight.org

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