By Baba Sillah
The Janneh Commission yesterday visited mining sites in the coastal areas of Tujering, Sanyang and Kartong which were heavily affected by the activities of the mining companies Carnegie Mineral Company, Gamico and APAM connected with former President Jammeh.
According to officials, the purpose of the visit was to enable the commission to have firsthand information and to ascertain the damages as well as how to prevent such reoccurrence and also to hear from the local communities.
The delegation led by the commission chairman, Sourahata Janneh and comprising counsel Bensouda and the secretary to the commission, also included Tony Ghattas the managing director of APAM.
They first had a stop at Batokunku –Tujereng mining site where heavy mineral [HMC] namely Zinc, elminite and black sand were extracted and sent to China for separation.
From there, the delegation proceeded to Sanyang, another area affected by mining activities causing environmental damages to the land which undermined agricultural activities of the communities who have raised frustration over the damages caused by the companies.
The Alkalolu of all these villages appealed to the commission to take note of their concerns and forward them to the government for action.
They claimed that since the commencement of mining activities, their communities have never benefited anything despite agreements between them and the companies.
Mr Ghattas on his part promised to rehabilitate the areas damaged by his company but he also claimed that his company brought numerous projects to the communities particularly the construction and electrification of the road leading to the site as well as the planting of cashew trees.
Other members of the delegation included the director of Geological department, Abdoulie Cham, deputy director and the executive director of National Environmental Agency, Momodou J Suwareh, all of whom blamed the mining companies for failing to execute their responsibilities.