By Musa Paul Feika
Mourne Mine Company Limited that has been operating in Fiama Chiefdom, Kono District, has made its first appearance before Magistrate Hannah Bonnie of the Pademba Road Magistrate Court No.1, for allegedly failing to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Act of 2008.
Momodu Justice Conteh, a staff working for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Office in Kono, stated that one of his major duties and responsibilities is to ensure that all small mining companies operating in Kono District acquire Environmental Assessment Licence (EAL).
The witness told the court that Mourne Company Limited was supposed to licence because its activities is under the EPA Act of 2008.
He told the court that he wrote three notification letters to Mourne Mine Company Limited on diverse dates from the 16th February, 16th March and the 4th April 2017 respectively and also tendered them to form part of the exhibits, marked as exhibit A1-5.
The witness further highlighted the negative impact of mine activities such as: clearing of forests, soil erosion, operating heavy duty machines that cause land degradation, disturbance of the nearby communities, disturbance of vehicle movement, driven animals in the forests and water pollution which, according to him, have negative impacts on the environment and the lives of the people.
The defendant was arraigned before the court on one count of failing to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency Act of 2008.
The Police file sheet indicates that Mourne Mine Company Limited, operating in Fiama Chiefdom in Kono District, failed to acquire EPA Licence.
The defence Counsel, Aminata Koroma for the Mourne Mine Company Limited sought for an adjournment, noting that her colleague has not furnished her with all the documents that have been tendered in court, and she wanted to peruse them for cross examination and her application was granted.
The matter was adjourned to 23rd July, 2019.
By Musa Paul Feika