The Environment Protection Agency Sierra Leone Northern Regional Office in Makeni carried out a follow-up exercise operation to combat illicit dredge mining along the Pampana River, Tonkolili District, and Northern Sierra Leone On Thursday, March 13, 2024.

According to an update from EPA’s External Relations and Advocacy Officer, Charles Lebbie, during the exercise, they arrested and destroyed some dredges at Moyorpoh Community, Tonkolili District.

Lebbie said the raid was led by Sheku Sillah, the Northern Regional Manager, and other officials in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Police Force.

“The team destroyed two locally made dredges, power tillers, and a brain box,” Lebbie stated.

It was also observed that, despite the Agency’s bold, fair, and firm steps to enforce environmental laws and hold violators accountable and compliant, illegal mining has become a thriving activity in riverine villages.

Illicit dredge mining, Lebbie stated has disrupted aquatic life and posed a threat to human life quality, and he added the Agency will continue to conduct rigorous raids to eliminate dredge mining in our rivers and waterways by the Presidential Directive dated June 9, 2021, and the statutory powers in Section 12 of the EPA Act of 2022.

Illegal mining has been a threat to communities in Tonkolili District especially around the Pampana River. It was on that note residents applauded the Agency for swiftly intervening.