By Varney K. Sirleaf from ‘Leopard Hole’, Grand Cape Mount County
“We are not aware of any death in this place; we too heard it from ELBC Radio that 14 persons died here in this gold mine, but that report is not true,” one of the miners at the ‘Leopard Hole’ mining site in Gold Camp who claimed anonymity explained to the Inquirer.
According to a group of illicit miners at one of the Aureus mining sites commonly called ‘Leopard Hole’ in Gold Camp, Grand Cape Mount County, they said as far as they know, no one death has occurred in that particular site as is being reported by the media.
They said they have been involved in mining activities at that particular site for over two years and no one has died from among them.
The illicit miners further stated that the only thing they know is some part of last Month July, officials of Aureus Mining Company told them to move from the area because they said it belongs to the company, therefore, illicit miners are not supposed to continue their illicit mining activities there.
“The Company brought Yellow Machines around July 20 to close down most of the mining sites before coming here to ‘Leopard Hole’ to close all of the holes that were dug by them (the Company) and to break all structures that we built here to make sure we leave from here,” they explained.
They explained further that Aureus Mining Company closed Ndablama Gold Camp first before going to ‘Leopard Hole’ stating that the company’s fear might have been that illicit miners could discover a huge deposit of gold at their legally mining sites, something they said the company wants to avoid.
But contrary to that, some of their colleagues admitted that some bad guys among them have been involved in dangerous mining under the cover of darkness.
They said in their mining terminologies that sometimes they dig holes from first floor, second, third, fourth and even up to six floors beneath the earth.
“We use torch lights to mine in the holes, and sometimes we can’t see even with the torch light underground,” they narrated.
They stated that when a land slide occurs, the chances for those from second floor to sixth floor beneath the earth to survive are very slim.
For their part, most of the residents of Gold Camp Town said they too are not aware of 14 deaths being reported by the media in Monrovia.
A group of citizens of Gold Camp who spoke to this paper on Thursday, last week said they have been hearing reports and rumors that people died on the Mountain at the mining site, but they have not seen nor heard anyone from the town crying for their lost ones.
“Our brother, we ourselves are confused right now; how can 14 persons die from here and no one relative or friend in the town is mourning their death. We heard from ELBC Radio that it was one Golafale who is also one of the illicit miners from ‘Leopard Hole’ that reported himself to state security and narrated this story, but we don’t know how it happened,” they told the Inquirer.
It was reported on Wednesday of last by both State Radio LBS and the Catholic owned Radio Veritas that 14 persons died on a gold mine in Grand Cape Mount County, a report they said came from one of the survivors called Golafale.
When the representative of Electoral District #1, Grand Cape County, Rep. Aaron Vincent was contacted via phone, he said the only information he got from there was that two guys were found in a pit, one severely injured who is under critical condition and the other guy only known as Kamara died instantly and was later buried.
The GolaKonnee Representative further stated that he has serious problem with the 14 deaths that have been reported in the media, asking, “How in the world 14 persons will die from a town and you can’t trace their relatives and family members?”
Representative Vincent said he is working closely with residents of the town and authority of the company to make sure that the rightful story is told to the Liberian people.
All efforts to contact the Liberia National Police Spokes person proved futile as his phone was perpetually switched off.