EPA Provides Updates on MNG Gold Mine Incident

first_imgMr. Goll addresses the media at EPA head office in SinkorA crisis management team (CMT) set up by the government to investigate the recent chemical spill incident that affected 34 persons at the MNG Gold Mines in Kokoya, Bong County, is making efforts not just to unveil what might have gone wrong, but also institute stringent measures that would ensure that such an unfortunate incident doesn’t happen again.It may be recalled that there was a chemical spill when a section of the geo-membrane of the Tailing Storage Facility (TSF) ruptured at the MNG Gold facility, affecting the victims who were taken to Phebe Hospital in Suakoko for immediate medical examination. The situation has since been greeted with angry reactions across the country—and the government, through the CMT, has since taken steps to remedy it.The rupture resulted in an uncontrolled discharge of ‘slurry’ containing a high concentration of cyanide into the Sein Creek and the surrounding environment.At a press conference on Tuesday, the CMT, led by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), availed its findings by technicians who visited the site from October 5-7.EPA Deputy Executive Director Urias Goll, who addressed the press conference, said: “No free cyanide (a deadly chemical used to extract gold) was detected in the nearby Sein Creek which had a concentration level of 0.310ppm during the first trip.”All six hand pumps in the community, Mr. Goll said, were assessed but found no cyanide concentration, thus no impact on groundwater at the moment.Compared to the previous assessment, Mr. Goll noted that the free cyanide levels have decreased by 44 percent from 0.966ppm to 0.540ppm within the TSF. “It can be accepted considering the limit is 50mg/L in TSF according to International Cyanide Management Code,” he said.As a temporary measure to remedy the crisis, the EPA and CMT have authorized MNG to take some immediate actions. One of these is for the company to de-water the TSF that holds about 300,000 cubic meters of water under strict compliance with IFC standards and the Water Quality Guidelines of Liberia.“A third party has been hired to conduct compliance testing and monitoring during the de-watering process. This de-watering process is intended to access the full damage of the TSF in order to ensure comprehensive rehabilitation and repair,” Goll noted.MNG will construct a mini-dam (TSF) as an interim measure to continue its operations while the current TSF is being adequately repaired. However, the mini-dam is already part of the expansion plan developed by MNG.The CMT also indicated that out of the 34 persons hospitalized at Phebe Hospital, only 6 have required further examination and the rest have been discharged without any complication. “We have not received the latest medical report from the 6 persons but will inform the public once the doctor submits the details of the examination,” he indicated.MNG has provided food items (300 bags of rice, 4 cartons of chicken, 3 cartons of beef) and 4 poly tanks to supply clean and safe drinking water to the community for the month of October.MNG–Gold is a Turkish Mining company working in several parts of Kokoyah District in Bong County. The company took over from the American-Liberian Mining Company (Amlib) in 2013 following a mutual agreement between the two companies.The government, immediately upon the occurrence of the incident, organized the CMT, which has been working with MNG Gold and the community to amicably remedy the situation.The CMT is also responsible to ensure that the impact of the disaster does not leave any side effects, long or short-term, on the affected communities, especially their sources of water. The CMT also wants to ensure that such a situation does not happen again.The CMT will again visit the site on October 19 to continue its investigation. MMG-Gold suspended its operations since the incident on September 23.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

U.S. in dark on security plan

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week While few officials have seen the transportation security plan, some lawmakers said it evaluates highways, bridges, tunnels, pipelines, commuter rail and other infrastructure nationwide that must be protected from terrorist attack. It also was to have set standards and risk-based priorities that agencies should use to draw up security requirements – as well as the relationships between various agencies. Others said it could also include evacuation plans and logistics of emergency responses, such as outlining who would be in charge to ensure the availability of food, fuel, medicine and other supplies in the event of an attack. Testifying before the Senate panel, California Office of Homeland Security Director Matthew Bettenhausen said not knowing the federal government’s strategy for protecting infrastructure complicates local disaster planning efforts. “What should we prioritize and do with the scarce dollars we have?” Bettenhausen asked the committee, adding: “Help us. Write to release and not to classify.” The Department of Homeland Security did not return a call Wednesday seeking comment. But the struggle over the agency’s report is part of an ongoing Washington debate since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks about how to provide information without jeopardizing security. The 9-11 commission last year criticized excessive government secrecy, saying Washington stamps “classified” on too many documents, keeping vital information hidden from Congress and the public. “They have failed to distinguish between various details that might be properly classified and the bulk of the strategy, which needs to be widely understood,” said Steve Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy in Washington, D.C., which monitors government secrecy and advocates public oversight. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Wednesday that she thinks all levels of government need to improve preparations for disaster or terrorist attacks. Federal agencies, she said, must help set standards for cities to develop evacuation plans and local officials must sit down and write them. “I would hazard a guess that there isn’t a city that has a plan to evacuate the entire city,” she said. “You have to have it all written and all rehearsed so that when something happens, you can react fast.” Lisa Friedman, (202) 662-8731 lisa.friedman@langnews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – A Department of Homeland Security plan to protect the nation’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure from terrorist attacks remains classified and hidden from the state and local officials it was intended to help, a Senate panel was told Wednesday. Until recently, the Department of Homeland Security refused even to acknowledge to Congress the existence of the National Strategy for Transportation Security plan – despite the fact that lawmakers were the ones who ordered the plan as part of a 2004 intelligence bill. But 9-11 commission member Slade Gordon told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the agency has turned over the plan to Congress yet refuses to let anyone without a security clearance – including state and local emergency-response officials – see it. “What use is it if the people who have to adapt to it don’t know anything about its existence or what it says?” Gordon said. “The people who are going to do the work are going to have to know what the rules are.” last_img read more