The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has on the 15th December 2023 order the cessation of the J.M mining company within the kenema Kambui hills with immediate effect.

EPA maintained that, the J.M mining company has applied for environmental impact assessment license (E.IA) but as part of protecting the environment and in a bid to ensure compliance with the judgement as well as maintaining the environment integrity of the Kambui hills as one of the protected areas in the country they have decided to order he shut down of all operations of the company in the Kambui hills.

Their statement reads: The Environment Protection Agency is in receipt of an application for an Environmental Impact Assessment (ELA) Licence from J.M Mining Company to undertake mining activities within the Kambui Hills and its immediate surroundings.

While it is the only Government institution charged with the responsibility of issuing EIA licenses for all development projects in the country, the Agency notes that the Kambui Hills are part of the forest reserves of Sierra Leone, which house valuable water catchments through which SALWACO provides water services to hundreds of thousands of people in the Kenema District and beyond. The Kambui Hills are also vital for promoting a clean, safe, healthy, and sustainable environment not only for the Kenema District but also for people living in Sierra Leone. Because of this importance,the Agency has made the protection and conservation of the Kambui Hills a priority.

The Agency would therefore like to bring to the attention of all public bodies and the general public that there is a current court judgment outlawing all mining activities within the Kambui Hills and ordering relevant institutions, including the Agency, the Sierra Leone Police and SALWACO to undertake periodic monitoring to enforce the said judgment.

In a bid to ensure compliance with this judgment and maintain the environmental integrity of the Kambui Hills, the Agency has, through a letter dated 22nd November 2023, demanded that all J.M Mining Company operations be shut down immediately. Since J.M Mining has not obtained a valid EIA Licence for its proposed development project, the Agency would like to remind the company of the provision of Section 24 of the Environment Protection Agency Act 2022, which requires any projects listed in the First Schedule to the Act first to obtain an EIA Licence before commencement of operations.

The Environmental Protection Agency remains committed to ensuring compliance with environmental laws and the protection of the environment.