By Henry Karmo
Monrovia — The environmental watch dog Journalists for the Protection of Nature (JPN-Lib) has called on the European Union, United States government, and other international business institutions not to purchase natural minerals from the “Youssuf Diamond Mining Company (YDMC)” extracted from the Gola Forest National Park in Liberia.
JPN-Lib. in a statement says, the operations of the YDMC in the Gola Forest National Park borders on environmental crimes, and doing business with them is a blatant violation of the Wildlife Conservation Laws of Liberia and other international protocols on protected conservation areas.
Henry Karmo [email protected]
JPN says YDMC is carrying out active mining of gold and diamonds within and around the protected Gola Forest National Park which is in clear violation of Sections 5.8 and 6.1.2 of the National Wildlife Conservation and Protected Areas Management Act of 2017 of Liberia.
Sections 6.1.2 of the National Wildlife Conservation and Protected Areas Management Act of 2017 says “The authority shall ensure the protection of all wildlife species, known and unknown as party of an important natural heritage and the symbol of significance to the cultural values of the communities surrounded the protected areas forest edge and the corridors joining key wildlife protected areas.”
Also, Section 5.8 of the act says “No protected area established by the Legislature action under Chapter five of the act shall be abolished or alienated, nor shall its boundaries be modified, except by act of the Legislature, following constitution with the authority”.
The environmental watch group says the Yousuff Diamond Mining Company has ignored and violated these provisions of the Law and has gone beyond the 2-kilometer buffer zone as provided for by law to build road in the Gola Forest National Park to do mining explorations thereby scaring away Liberia’s biodiversity species to neighboring countries.
JPN-Liberia, is also calling on national government to speedily investigate the legitimacy of two communications signature by the deputy minister for operations of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Emmanuel O. Sherman dated February 1, 2022 granting exploration license #MEL2121/16 to the Youssef Diamond Mining Company to carry out mining in and around the Gola Forest National Park.
The another communication, according to JPN Lib., believed to be signed by Deputy Minister Sherman dated May 17, 2022, seconded a geologist name Henry Zeze and a mining engineer Alecie R. Gongloe to the company as eyes for the ministry during the pilot mining operation of the YDMC.
“Not being satisfied JPN-Lib. says she had mobile phone conservation with deputy minister Emmanuel Sherman, and Sherman confirmed the exploration operations of the Youssef Diamond Mining Company in the Gola Nation Forest Park something the environmental watchdog considers as a serious contradiction to the government’s fight for the conservation of protected areas.
“JPN Liberia believes the operation of YDMC in the Gola National Forest Park, will further open a flaw gate for other mining companies to venture into the protected areas for mining purposes which will dash efforts of conservation organizations including the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL), Wild Chimpanzee Foundation and all other conservation organizations in Liberia that have been working hard to conserve national protected areas in Liberia.
“JPN-Lib. categorically condemns in the strongest terms the operations of the Youssuf Diamond Mining Company in the Gola Forest National Park, and calls on national government to take prompt actions as to protect endangered species conserve and protect Liberia’s forest from degradation.”
According to JPN, Liberia has signed up to several international conservation protocols and any attempt to play a blind eye to these illegal acts will undermine its quest in protecting the forest and its biodiversity conservation sector of the country.
JPN-Liberia has vowed to continue to engender initiatives that will foster Environmental Justice until issues of exploration in the Gola National Forest Park are other illegal wildlife conservation acts are addressed.
The environmental watch dog also believes that the conservation and proper usage of the forestry sector will immensely contribute to the reduction of Global Greenhouse gas emissions to help keep the global temperature at 1.5 degree Celsius or even below amidst the climate crisis.
Liberia has an estimated 43% of the upper Guinea Forest and is the third lungs of forest worldwide and the Liberian President George Weah has stressed the importance of his country’s forest contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions while pledging that Liberia will protect and conserve the forest at the recent COP in Egypt.
President Weah also called on powerful nations especially Countries that are considered the highest pollutant of greenhouse gas emission, to take practical steps by investing more money in Countries that have agreed to conserve their forest. This global call by President Weah is laudable JPN-Lib says.
In May of 2021, A Liberian-owned diamond mining company; Youssef Diamond Mining Company (YDMC) announced the discovery of what could turn out to be the largest diamond field in the world.
Mr. Roger Youssef, a Geologist and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of YDMC, disclosed that following findings of large kimberlitic dike deposits in the north-western part of the country by the company, it is safe to state that Liberia may just make use of the opportunity to generate huge revenue generation amid the struggling economy or loses out.