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EPA Orders Miners to Pay US$16K Over Illegal Acts


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.

Illegal Miners Run Away After DayLight Investigation


Top: A truck fleeing Brewerville with Quezp Mining Company’s equipment on Sunday, February 25, 2023. The company had illegally operated in the area for two years until The DayLight exposed it. The DayLight/Charles Gbayor  

By Charles Gbayor

BREWERVILLE; ROYESVILLE – Miners operating two illegal mines outside Monrovia have fled the communities, three days after a DayLight investigation exposed them.

Over the weekend, mineworkers of Quezp Mining Company began fleeing Brewerville and Royesville, where they have mined zircon sand for the last two years. The mineral is used in the ceramics industry, with Australia and Africa as its newest markets.  

The investigation unearthed that Quezp does not have a license for the suburban and rural Montserrado communities. Instead, it has two prospecting licenses for Kpayan District, Sinoe County.

Video and pictures shot by a resident and The DayLight show Quezp’s workers dismantling a plant and moving mining equipment away from Brewerville.

“We are happy that nobody will be mining sand on the beach anymore,” said Oliver Wallace, a resident of  Brewerville. “What they were doing over there was [negatively] affecting the community.”

The DayLight photographed piles of abandoned zircon sand at Quezp’s transferring location in Royesville. Tire impressions in the area had been erased, indicating that the company’s earthmovers had not been there for some time.

A truck runs away with Quezp’s equipment following a DayLight investigation that unearthed the mining company’s illegal activities in Brewerville and Royesville. The DayLight/Charles Gbayor

Residents who worked with the company in the illicit trade expressed dismay and frustration over its abrupt departure.

“They are moving and I don’t know where they are going for now because no one is saying anything to us,” said Junior Sirleaf, a Royesville resident who was involved in the illicit trade. I am just hurt that I and some Liberians were used in the illegal sand mining business.”

A machine dismantles Quezp’s mining plant in Brewerville. Picture credit: Alvin Kromah

Terrance Collins, the owner of Quezp, said an official had told him to shut down after the publication. Collins declined to identify the person.

“I don’t want to get in any more trouble as I am already in,” Collins told The DayLight via WhatsApp. He said he was in Turkey on a medical trip.

“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” he added.  

The Department of Mines at the Ministry of Mines and Energy declined to speak on the matter.

Illegal mining carries a fine of up to US$2,000, a 24-month prison term, or both fine and imprisonment, if covicted by a court.

Funding for this story was provided by the United States Embassy. The DayLight maintained editorial independence over the story’s content.