REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
P.O. Box 4024
4th Street Sinkor, Tubman Boulevard,
1000 Monrovia, 10 Liberia
November 1, 2017
Monrovia……. Government Inter-Ministerial Crisis Management Team (CMT) chaired by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia has revealed that much has been done to restore the livelihood of the people of Sayewheh town and remediate the dam failure which resulted into spillage of cyanide-containing effluent in the environment at MNG Goldmine in Kokoya, Bong County.
It can be recalled that an uncontrolled amount of slurry containing cyanide from the company’s Tailing Storage Facility (TSF) was discharge into the Sein creek and other wetlands on September 27, 2017 when a section of the geo-membrane layer of the TSF dam raptured; resulting in the contamination of ground water and the disruption of farming activities in Sayewheh town.
This situation poses potential health hazard to the community and its inhabitants which led to the temporary closure of all hand pumps, ban on farming activities and artisanal mining, closure of schools and referral of some community members for medical examination.
It was observed from the CMT recent visit to the site that the tailings slurry had been scooped behind the containment pond and test shows that the free cyanide level at the point of rupture (in the TSF) is currently below the permissible limit while the free cyanide level at the Containment Pond remains below the permissible limit. There was no detectable free cyanide in samples collected from all six hand pumps, indicating no ground water contamination while free cyanide concentration within the Sein Creek remains zero.
As we await the final results from three community members who have been taken to JFK memorial hospital for further medical examination, it has been noticed that doctors at Phebe hospital and MNG clinic found no direct correlation of cyanide to the illnesses reported. Once the medical reports from JFK are received, the public will be informed.
The CMT informs the general public and members of the community that, while it is working with the company to find amicable rehabilitation solution to the damaged TSF, it is now safe to carry out normal activities including farming, schooling, etc.
Signed: Danise Love Dennis
Communications & Media Specialist
Environmental Protection Agency - EPA