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Police Arrest ‘Black Sand’ Miners in Sinoe


Top: Four of the Vietnamese mineworkers arrested by the police in Bannah, Sinoe County. Picture credit: Facebook/Butaw Radio TV

By Gabriel M. Dixon

GREENVILLE – Police in Sinoe County have arrested nearly a dozen Vietnamese nationals for allegedly violating a mining moratorium, local media reported.

Eight men were detained on Saturday on the order of Superintendent Peter Wleh Nyenswah.

“This initiative is intended to buttress the national government’s effort in the fight against illicit mining,” Nyenswah told Radio Butaw. 

 The men work for STT Heavy Mineral Resources Limited, a medium-scale company that mines zircon sand commonly called “black sand” in Greenville. The Vietnamese-owned company has five active black sand mining licenses in Sinoe County, the ministry’s records show.

Nguyen Thanh Truc, STT’s majority shareholder, did not immediately respond to queries.

An STT mining plant in Morrisville, Sinoe County in January 2023. The DayLight/Derick Snyder

Last month, the government of Liberia banned black sand mining across the country after a video of an illegally extracted stockpile of the minerals, posted by a citizen journalist, went viral on Facebook.   Before that, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fined  Quezp Mining Company in Brewerville and Royesville for operating without an environmental permit.