Top: The headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tubman Boulevard in Sinkor. The DayLight/Mark B. Newa

By James Harding Giahyue

MONROVIA – The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a mining company to pay a combined US$15,998 for operating without an environmental permit, and a restoration plan for its mines.

Quezp Mining Company ran two mines in Brewerville and Royesville for nearly two years without the permit, the EPA said in a report following a preliminary investigation.  

The investigation followed a DayLight publication, which showed Quezp had no license for a pair of zircon sand mines in the Montserrado communities.

The publication revealed the Brewerville mine had a plant where zircon sand was transported from Royesville with the involvement of residents.

The plant processed the zircon sand—a mineral used in the ceramics industry. Mineworkers placed the sand in 25-kilogram bags and then transported them elsewhere for export.

The company fled from the communities, just days after the publication.

EPA investigators found that Quezp also bought zircon sand from other places, including Banjor, a Montserrado sea erosion hotspot.

“The direct beach sand mining being carried out by the company and community has resulted in serious coastal degradation and sea erosion,” the EPA report found.  “This has impacted many landed properties closest to the mining operation.

Remnants of a Quezp’s illegal mining activities in Brewerville. The DayLight/Charles Gbayor

“The company’s operation has seriously impacted the mangrove forest due to the improper disposal of its mine waste,” it said.  

EPA fined Quezp US$2,999 for mining without an environmental permit. It ordered the company to present a US$12,999 plan to restore the environment where it worked, according to the report.

The report also found that the miners were less than a kilometer from the beach, impacting houses closest to its illegal operations. It said Quezp encouraged residents to engage in sand mining, outlawed since 2012 to curb countrywide coastline loss.

EPA investigators urged the agency to officially inquire about the status of Quezp’s mining licenses. The DayLight found that the company only has two zircon-sand prospecting licenses in Kpayan District, Sinoe County.

The Investigators called for mining and environmental awareness in communities across the country.

Terrence Collins, Quezp’s owner and CEO, did not immediately respond to queries.

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