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Forest Community Rejects Bea Mountain Settlement of US$6.3M Lawsuit  


Top: Korninga B Authorized Forest Community has sued Bea Mountain Mining Corporation for US$4.3 million in damages for alleged illegal entry and destruction of its woodland. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

By Esau J. Farr

TUBMANBURG, Bomi County – A community forest in Gbarpolu County has rejected Bea Mountain Mining Corporation’s proposal for a settlement in a US$6.3 million lawsuit against the company.

Bea Mountain proposes to pay the Korninga B Community Forest  US$100,000, a US$65,000 mobile sawmill and a pair of chainsaws, according to the proposed settlement document seen by The DayLight.

Korninga B and Bea Mountain had agreed to the settlement in 2022 but the company pulled out of the arrangement, prompting the community to go to court. Locals filed for US$6.3 million action of damages over Bea Mountain’s alleged unauthorized entry and destruction of the forest.

Under the settlement agreement, seen by The DayLight, Bea Mountain offers to pay Korninga in two installments. The company agrees to deploy five staff to train the same number of townspeople to operate the sawmill, according to the document.

The settlement proposal also prohibits Bea Mountain from working in the forest and gives Korninga possession of the trees that Bea Mountain cleared.

Aaron Mulbah, the chief officer of Korninga, said they rejected the proposal because they had incurred expenses as a result of their lawsuit. “They have to go above that,” Mulbah told The DayLight.

Cllr. Kunkunyon Wleh Teh, Bea Mountain’s lead lawyer, declined an interview with The DayLight.

Verdict and Retrial

Korninga B’s lawsuit accuses Bea Mountain of felling over 2,800 logs to make a passage through the 78,624-acre forest in the Bokomu District to its mining sites, according to court documents. Bea Mountain is also accused of harvesting logs from the area to construct bridges, throwing some in valleys while burying others.

The company denies any wrongdoing, saying it only mined in areas covering its licenses, and that the community should instead pay it damages for allegedly obstructing its operations.

Following more than five months of legal battle, a six-man jury found Bea Mountain liable for wrongdoing.  

But the court granted Bea Mountain’s petition for a retrial on grounds that jurors failed to take witnesses’ testimonies into account and ignored inconsistencies in testimonies, calling the US$5 million damages “grossly disproportionate.”

In early March 2022, Bea Mountain Mining Corporation allegedly illegally entered the Korninga B Community Forest in Bokomu District and felled several trees.

Under the Community Rights Law…, locals own and comanage forests adjacent to their communities alongside the Forestry Development Authority (FDA). The law is a breakaway from the past, where only the government and companies had a say in forestry. It guarantees locals’ right to forestland and prohibits unauthorized entry and use of forest resources.

The Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court in Bopolu, Gbarpolu County, from where the case was transferred to Tubmanburg, Bomi County. The DayLight/Dougba McCay

Before going to court, Korninga informed Bea Mountain of its ownership of the forest and Bea Mounting’s alleged illegal actions. The two parties agreed that the company would pay the community US$165,000 for the damages and other things.

Ruth Varney, a representative of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) in the western region, had compiled a report on the alleged damages with the company’s funds, court documents show.  

But Bea Mountain pulled out of the arrangement, which also included Keyah Saah, the Superintendent of Gbarpolu County. Angered by that, Korninga filed a US$4.3 million lawsuit against the company at the 16th Judicial Circuit Court in Bopolu, Gbarpolu County.

Bea Mountain’s defense team asked the court to dismiss the case. Its lawyers argued that locals did not have the right to sue the company and that it had legal mining licenses to operate in that area.

The three medium-scale mines in question are located in the same region as the Korninga B Community Forest. The licenses of two of the mines are held by MNG Gold, a company owned by Mehmet Nazif Günal, the Turkish billionaire who also owns Bea Mountain. The license for the other is held by Gbarpolu Mining Corporation, a Liberian-owned firm.

Prosecution lawyers led by Atty. Alston Armah asked the court not to grant the defense lawyers’ petition. Prosecution lawyers argued that Korninga had the authority to file the lawsuit. They added that the mining licenses were not owned by Bea Mountain.

The court in Bopolu agreed with Korninga and denied Bea Mountain’s petition, and the case proceeded. However, it was transferred to the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in Tubmanburg, Bomi County after another petition by defense lawyers.

Bea Mountain has proposed to give Korninga B US$100,000, and other things as a settlement in a lawsuit against it. The DayLight/Charles Gbayor

There, prosecution lawyers told the court Bea Mountain broke the Community Rights Law… “The destruction of the forest with no knowledge of the legal community forest is causing [the community] pain, suffering, mental anguish and distress,” one court filing read.

Lawyers of Bea Mountain counterargued that the company and a partner legally obtained the three mining licenses it operates in that region. They said the Korninga forest leadership did not have the authority to sue the company, only its ancestral land leadership had. They said the investigation conducted by Varney was not legal or binding because she was not authorized to do so.

The court heard testimony from Yanquoi Dolo, the head of the FDA’s legal department. “The FDA did not communicate any official assessment report involving Korninga B Community Forest,” Dolo told the jurors.

Following final arguments, the six-man jury handed down a unanimous verdict against Bea Mountain in October last year. The jurors held Bea Mountain liable for US$1,311,401.21 in special damages and US$3 million in general damages.

Three days after the ruling, the company filed a petition for a new trial, citing inconsistencies in witnesses’ testimonies and that the jurors ignored some of their evidence.

Prosecution lawyers argued that documentary evidence and testimonials were sufficient to have the company liable for the damages. They said the jurors’ guilty verdict matched the evidence produced during the trial.

But, this time, the court ruled in favor of Bea Mounting, ordering a retrial. Judge Ciapha Carey said the inconsistencies favored the company as well as the fact not all the trees in question were scaled.

Unsatisfied with the ruling, lawyers representing Korninga B  petitioned the Supreme Court for a review of the case. The high court affirmed Carey’s ruling for a  new trial.

Mulbah said Korninga was awaiting a retrial.

“We are asking international partners, NGOs to help the community people in our case with Bea Mountain,” Mulbah said. “Bea Mountain feel that they have money… but the law is there.

The law will provide for us.”

EPA Misled the Public Over Bea Mountain Chemicals Spill, Report Shows


Top: The pollution-prone Bea Mountain Mining Corporation’s chemical waste plant. The DayLight/Varney Kamara

By Mark Newa and James Harding Giahyue 

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) misled the public last year when it said a second investigation found chemicals that spilled into waterways from a Bea Mountain Mining Corporation facility were below approved levels.
  •  EPA’s Executive Director Wilson Tarpeh further deceived the public, saying that rainwater had washed the leaked cyanide, arsenic and copper away
  • The EPA has not been transparent in handling the Bea Mountain pollution saga in Grand Cape Mount County. It buried the report last month on its website almost a year after the spillage
  • There is no public record Bea Mountain paid a fine for last year’s spill, which undermines the ‘polluter pay’ principle of the environmental law of Liberia
  • EPA’s arguments against misleading the public, hiding pollution reports and not punishing Bea Mountain are inconsistent with the law and not based on facts

MONROVIA – In June last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia announced that Bea Mountain Mining Corporation, a Turkish-owned mining company, polluted water sources in Kinjor, Grand Cape Mount County.

“The analysis results showed higher than [the] permissible level of free cyanide (with source from the BMMC tailing storage facility),” a statement from the agency said on August 8 last year.

“The presence of excess cyanide led to the contamination of the water sources and that the situation has severely disrupted and injured the livelihood of the communities that depend on those water resources…,” it added. The statement followed weeks of a public frenzy after dead fish and a dog’s body made rounds on Facebook.

But in a miraculous reversal of the report, the EPA cleared the company some two months later. To the ire of residents and the outcry of the public, it said in a statement, “All facilities tested were appreciably below the permissible level set up by the EPA.”

Addressing a news conference in early August that year, The Executive Director of the agency Professor Wilson Tarpeh explained the shocking reversal. Tarpeh said the agency had only set a 30-day period for waterfronts in the area to be safe for use.  

“The limit, even though it was above, but that limit was not by itself sufficient to cause distress to the aquatic species,” Tarpeh told a news conference a day after the statement. “The cyanide level—the level of pollution—has been cured by natural occurrence: rain. Rainwater washed all of that away the fishes are about to come back.” 

But the actual report on the spillage the statement and Tarpeh referenced shows the EPA deceived the public. EPA investigators had found the chemicals that leaked from the Bea Mountain facility were well above the approved limits over a month after the incident, according to the report. Chemicals in several samples collected from different locations exceeded the approved limits set by the World Health Organization and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). (The IFC, the World Bank’s private lending entity,  invested £5.3 million into Bea Mountain’s Cape Mount project.)

The Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency Wilson Tarpeh lied that a second investigation into the spillage of chemicals that leaked into water sources in Grand Cape Mount County from a waste plant operated by Bea Mountain Mining Corporation was not above approved levels. The DayLight/James Harding Giahyue

Water samples from the area of the spillage show cyanide, iron, arsenic, and copper had seeped into the Marvoe Creek and the Mafa River. The chemicals, used to mine gold, can make people sick and are capable of killing them.

Tests also prove that dissolved oxygen (DO), which supports aquatic life, was below the permissible level, according to the report. Mining waste can cause low concentrations of DO and kill fish, which take in the substance directly through their gills into their bloodstreams.

One sample shows mercury—used to recover gold nuggets can cause a horde of health problems and death—above the required level. Investigators attributed it to likely artisanal-mining activities, the report points out.  In total, three out of five laboratory tests show illegal levels of chemicals.  

The report says the water quality had made an “appreciable improvement” by July. However, the EPA focused on that development and left out the report’s actual findings.

Former Minister of Justice Benedict Sannoh, the villagers’ lawyer, made a similar point, despite the EPA’s dishonesty over the July 2022 report. “The EPA report does not suggest and cannot be construed to mean that contamination of the Marvoe did not take place,” Sannoh said in a statement. “Cyanide is not a naturally occurring element of waters and creeks.”

In an interview with The DayLight last Wednesday, EPA Executive Director Tarpeh continued with the same deceptive narrative, focusing on the dilution of the chemicals rather than the pollution.

“In May, that’s the rainy season. There is a chemical spill here each year. it rained plenty, you expect the chemicals to be there? Tarpeh asked rhetorically.

“The water washed the chemicals away. What happened in May, had it happened in the dry season, it would have had more impact.”

Lack of Transparency

The EPA has not been transparent over the spillage, which paralyzed the livelihood of some 350 people in affected communities. It did not inform the public about the full scale of the pollution. The July remains buried on the agency’s website. You have to conduct an advanced search on the website to find the report, though earlier documents are in plain sight.

It was unclear when EPA actually published the reports. For the last two or three years or so, EPA’s website does not show dates of publications. The agency’s webmasters make that determination. That empowers webmasters to manipulate publications’ dates, according to an information technology expert who does not want to be named. The DayLight’s analysis of the website shows that both the May and July reports were published on April 5, 2023, nearly a year after the incident.  

Ngumbu, who investigated the spill, blamed technical issues for the website’s dateless publications. He said the website was being constructed.  

Tarpeh added that the EPA delayed publishing the report because it had to complete its reporting process before publication.

“Our report room is very huge, it is a new phenomenon that we’ve introduced for reporting,” Tarpeh said. Here, we have to be exhaustive. “If I came to your company and I found that something is wrong, I am the regulator and you say no I do not agree, we base on the principle of due process.”

The excuse does not hold. EPA was very open with the May report on the spill. It issued several statements last year—the first just days after news of the spill—and called a press conference. Even appeared before the Legislature on the matter.

The agency’s actions to keep the July report quiet were almost palpable.  Tarpeh had dedicated nearly all of the time to a press conference a day after the misleading statement that cleared the company to wetlands. He spent around two and a half minutes on the spillage, though it was the most trending environmental issue then. An attempt by The DayLight to pose a question on the spill was denied.

Noteworthy, investigators had recommended a press conference particularly on the matter in the presence of company representatives, according to the July 2022 report. A report on another spillage this year, published at the same time as the May and July 2022 reports, suggests the EPA did not share last year’s findings with affected communities.  

The EPA has continued its concealment trend this year after chemicals leaked again from the same facility in February. Meanwhile, 100 people have left the Jikando, the epicenter of the pollution, that report says. The current spill remained unreported until late last month when The DayLight broke the news. EPA had likely published it at the same time as the reports on last year’s spillage, over a month after the incident had occurred.

More on Bea Mountain Spills

The EPA refuted The DayLight’s story on this year’s spill and its disguise of the new development as a “diabolical lie.” It has, however, remained quiet on the new incident.

“We are [a] scientific and [a] regulatory agency. What we do has legal implications. We can sue and can be sued,” said Dobayou, who imposed an illegally huge fine against Bea Mountain in 2018.

We had to search the EPA website to find the dates on which the Bea Mountain spill reports were published, as the website does not reflect the dates on which items were published

Concealing information violates the public participation portion of the Environmental Protection and Management Law. The particular provision mandates the EPA to “ensure maximum participation by the Liberian people in the management and decision-making processes of the environment and natural resources.”

No Punishment for Bea Mountain

There is no evidence the EPA imposed a fine against Bea Mountain for last year’s spillage, one of at least five in the last decade.

The report of this year’s spillage called on EPA to impose a fine against the company for violating the law and the terms of its waste plant permit. It found that Bea Mountain did not implement all the recommendations of the May 2022 report but did not specify. Like this year’s report, the two reports from last year had urged the EPA to fine the company.

A 2020 EPA investigation of Bea Mountain’s controversial waste plant found the company operated an open wastewater facility, rather than the approved closed one. It said the company conducted construction at the plant without authorization. It further said Bea Mountain denied EPA investigators access to its laboratory and company documents. Investigators found the water from a 25-centimeter metal pipe, which emptied into a wetland in the area, contained an excess of the deadly cyanide, copper, and iron. The report also called for fines at the time.   Two years earlier in 2018, the EPA fined Bea Mountain US$99,999 for the same offense. EPA ordered the company to pay to the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) “within 72 hours as of the receipt of the notice of fine.”

The headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA), 3rd Street, Sinkor. The DayLight/Mark B. Newa

Asked why EPA did not fine Bea Mountain, Tarpeh did not confirm or deny.  “We don’t collect the money,” he said, dodging the question. Normally,  if a company pays a fine to the LRA, it must present a receipt to the institution that imposed the fine. Tarpeh ignored that fact.

“Go to the LRA,” he added.  

LRA records show that Bea Mountain has never paid an EPA-imposed fine in its 14 years of operations in Liberia. All but one of the company’s fines have been customs-related, imposed by the LRA itself. The other fine is also a solitary US$100 just the same time as last year’s spill the LRA calls “other legal fines and penalties.”   

Such impunity undermines the “polluter pay” principle of the environmental law the EPA was established to implement. Based on the law, Bea Mountain should have paid up to a 10-year prison term or a fine not more than US$25,000, or both fine and imprisonment.  

Bea Mountain, which denied any wrongdoing regarding the spillage last year, did not reply to queries for this story.  The Turkish-owned company signed a 25-year agreement with the Liberian government on July 29, 2009. It is owned by Turkish billionaire Mehmet Nazif Günal, also the owner of MNG Gold, which also has a 25-year agreement with Liberia.

Bea Mountain’s history of polluting water sources in the Gola Konneh District dates back to 2015, according to media reports. Then the next year, an accident released chemical waste into nearby waterfronts. 

After those spills, villagers filed a complaint with two European banks that finance Bea Mountain’s goldmine. Bea Mountain said the spill in 2016 was the result of “an extremely rare and unusual weather event that led to the overflowing” of its waste facility, according to a report by the banks.

Funding for the story was provided by the Green Livelihood Alliance (GLA 2.0) through the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI). The DayLight maintained complete editorial independence over its content.

EPA Lies On The DayLight Over Chemicals Spill Story


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

By Mark B. Newa

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lied by suggesting The DayLight did not contact it for the online newspaper’s story over a spillage of chemicals from a Bea Mountain Mining Corporation (BMMC) in a river in Grand Cape Mount County more than two months ago
  • The DayLight had actually contacted the EPA four days before its publication on April 19, accusing the EPA of concealing the pollution, Bea Mountain’s second in two years
  • An analysis of EPA’s website shows EPA published the report on the spillage on April 5, 2023, more than a month after the incident. There was no press statement as done in the past. The general public remained unaware of the pollution until The DayLight’s report
  • But publishing the report only on its website apparently breaks the Environmental Protection and Management Law of Liberia, which requires the EPA to publish the spillage in a newspaper and broadcast it on a radio station
  • The DayLight has frowned on the other news outlets from publishing a press release from the EPA on the publication-concealment issue without contacting The DayLight or adding its side of the story provided in a well-circulated email

MONROVIA – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lied when it suggested The DayLight failed to contact the agency for a story on chemicals that spilled from a Bea Mountain Mining Corporation plant into a river in Grand Cape Mount County in  February this year.

Over a week ago, The DayLight reported that the EPA had concealed the report on the findings of the spillage. The report found that the waste plant at the New Liberty Goldmine leaked cyanide and copper sulphate into the Marvoe Creek and further into water sources in Jikondo in the Gola Konneh District. The chemicals, used to mine gold, are dangerous to people’s health and can lead to death. The spillage is the second in the last two years and the fifth in the last decade.

After the report, the EPA issued a press release, calling The DayLight story as a “diabolical lie.” It suggested that The DayLight did not check the site or contact its communication team before publishing its story.

“The Agency encourages media houses and individuals seeking information on the workings of the EPA to check its website and or contact its media and corporate communications office for information about the agency,” The EPA said in the release.

Screenshots of an email exchange between The DayLight’s Mark B. Newa and Danise Dennis-Dodoo, the head of the EPA corporate communications office show The DayLight contacted the agency over the publication of the report on Bea Mountain’s chemicals spills.

“The EPA is stunned that an online publication that [prides itself] as a credible outlet will depart from truth-telling as a core standard of journalism to telling lies to satisfy its funders’ criteria,” it added.  

But the release contradicts the facts. The DayLight had contacted Danise Dennis-Dodoo, the head of EPA’s corporate communication office, four days before the story was published. In fact, one of seven questions Mark B. Newa, the reporter who did the story had raised, concerning the publication of the report. “The agency will answer your questions and revert to your soonest,” Dennis-Dodoo said in a reply to the email at the time. Those answers have yet to come more than two weeks after this reporter’s email.

The DayLight has expressed concern over EPA’s failure to acknowledge the environmental newspaper contacted the agency. “The fact that the press release here does not mention that is defamation in itself,” said  Director/Managing Editor James Harding Giahyue.

Report Concealed

The date EPA published the February 19, 2023 report—and other documents on the website—is not reflected. However, The DayLight analysis of the document shows it was published on April 5, 2023.   That was more than a month after the pollution.  

Following last year’s spillage, the EPA issued three different statements. One booked Bea Mountain for that spillage, one reaffirmed its findings, and another dramatically cleared the company of any wrongdoing. All those statements were posted on Facebook, a preferred medium of communication for Liberians at home and abroad.

Unlike last year, the EPA made no public statement on the current spillage, which apparently indicates the agency tried to keep the spillage out of the public glare. The pollution was grave and residents of affected towns and villages had been prevented from drinking from creeks in the area for at least 45 days, according to the report. It was unclear whether they are allowed to use the waterfronts now.

The EPA probably violated the law by not widely circulating the report on the current spillage. The law says the EPA may choose to publish and broadcast the spillage—pollution control, inspection and investigation, to name some—in at least a newspaper and on a radio station. The environmental law mandates the EPA to “ensure maximum participation by the Liberian people in the management and decision-making processes of the environment and natural resources.” It guarantees “environmental information and promotes disclosure for the ultimate benefit of the environment.”

But apart from that, the technical language in the report does not make it ideal for public consumption.  That seemingly explains why there has been a public discourse on the spillage more than two months on.

Amid all of this, there is no public record that the EPA fined Bea Mountain for the spills this or last year. Public access to information is a right under the Environmental Protection and Management Law, while public participation is one of its guiding principles.  The law also ascribes to the global “polluter pays” principle.

The report said Bea Mountain did not implement some of the recommendations from last year’s spillage but did not specify. It had called on the EPA to punish the company for violating the law and the terms of its waste permit. Bea Mountain has not commented on the spillage.

One-sided Reports

News outlets, including The News, that lifted EPA’s press release against The DayLight’s initial article failed to include the environmental paper’s side of the story. Giahyue had replied to the EPA email when it issued the press release that Tuesday. The email thread copied a  horde of journalists and media institutions, including The News.

“Individuals and institutions accused in any story or a press release deserve a right of reply,” Giahyue said. “Publishing the EPA’s press release without trying to get our side is an affront to journalism.”

[CORRECTION: This version of the story corrects the previous to add the spill of 2018, making it five spills in the last decade]

Funding for this story was provided by the Green Livelihood Alliance (GLA 2.0) through the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI). The DayLight maintained complete editorial independence over the story’s content.

Bea Mountain Polluted River in Cape Mount Again, Report Finds


Top: Investigators of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at Bea Mountain Mining Corporation’s waste plant in Kinjor, Grand Cape Mount County. Picture credit: Facebook/EPA Liberia

By Mark B. Newa

MONROVIA – Chemicals from a waste facility operated by Bea Mountain Mining Corporation (BMMC) leaked into a river in Grand Cape Mount County in February,  a report concealed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), obtained by The DayLight, found.

It marks the second year in a row for the pollution to happen and the fifth time within the last decade, according to official records and The DayLight’s review of news articles.    

The report, conducted the same month of the spillage but has not been published, found cyanide and copper from the plant at the New Liberty Goldmine seeped into water sources in Jikando, Gola Konneh District. It said EPA investigators saw Bea Mountain release copper sulphate from the facility into the environment. Cyanide and copper sulphate are used to mine gold and are dangerous to people’s health, and can lead to death.   

“The death of aquatic species may have resulted from elevated free cyanide and dissolved copper levels due to exposure to higher than permissible limits of free cyanide,” the report said.  It called on Bea Mountain to “regularly repair and upgrade” the plant according to its waste management permit. It also mandated the firm to supply villagers with food and water for 45 days after February 20, and that the period could be extended.  

“No sign of life was observed in the Marvoe Creek,” according to the report. Marvoe Creek is one of the largest tributaries that connect to Mafa River, which meanders along several villages and empties into Lake Piso in Robertsport, the western county’s capital. 

By polluting the environment in the area, Bea Mountain violated the Environmental Protection and Management Law of Liberia. Violators of the law face up to a US$50,000 fine upon conviction in court.

The report added that Bea Mountain collected its own sample, instead of an independent firm as the law requires. It said the lawyer of the community also extracted a sample of dead fish from the scene of the pollution.

The report said Bea Mountain did not implement all of the recommendations from the report on last year’s spillage but failed to mention specific recommendations.  It called on Bea Mountain to resettle villagers living next to the waste facility amid persistent pollution.

A diagrammed drone photo of the New Liberty Mine. Picture credit: Bea Mountain Mining Corporation

“The community vowed to protest if the issue of the pollution is not adequately addressed by the government,” it said.  People are migrating to other places since last year’s incident, leaving the Jikando with 250 people, according to the report. Other residents also want out, it added.

It was unclear whether the EPA notified the company of the penalties associated with the spillage, one of the things the report recommended.  EPA did not immediately respond to The DayLight’s queries on why it kept the report on this year’s spillage secret. Unlike last year’s incident, there was no statement or press conference this term. The public is yet to get any information on the penalties the agencies imposed on the company at any time.

Concealing information violates the public-participation principle of the environmental law of Liberia. The principle mandates the EPA to “ensure maximum participation by the Liberian people in the management and decision-making processes of the environment and natural resources.”

Previous Spills

This year’s spillage happened 10 months after the one last year. That May, an EPA report found spillage of chemicals from the same waste facility. Pictures of a dead dog and fish due to the spillage flooded social media pages.

The EPA said in a statement at the time the company “Severely disrupted and injured the livelihood of the communities that depend on these water sources.”  

Bea Mountain denied any wrongdoing, saying the report was “inconclusive and filled with analytical gaps. We are confident and particularly reaffirm our position of being in no breach of any required scientific standards,” it said in a statement at the time. The EPA then issued another statement, restating its position that a chemical compound had leaked from the company’s waste plant.

But in a dramatic turnaround, the EPA cleared the company of wrongdoing on August 8, just over two months after it found the leak. The agency said it was “pleased to inform you that all facilities tested were appreciably below the permissible level set up by the EPA.”

That was not the first spillage. There were three previous spills in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Villages said they caught rashes after using water from nearby creeks following the accident. Bea Mountain denied people sick.

In 2021, over 10,000 villagers filed a complaint with German and French banks DEG and Proparco, respectively, over 2015 the 2016 pollutions. The banks invested in the goldmine.

Efforts to contact Bea Mountain for this story did not immediately materialize. We will update the story once we get comments from the company or the EPA.

Bea Mountain Mining Corporation signed a 25-year agreement with the Liberian government on July 29, 2009. The Turkish-owned industrial goldmine is Liberia’s first goldmine. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, invested some £5.3 million in the project.  

[CORRECTION: This version of the story corrects a previous, which left out a 2018 spill to make it five in a decade]

Funding for this story was provided by the Green Livelihood Alliance (GLA 2.0) through the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI). The DayLight maintained complete editorial independence over the story’s content.