Jammeh’s off book mineral mine discovered

Jammeh’s off book mineral mine discovered

An off the record facility where Gambia’s ousted leader mined an unknown mineral in the eastern Gambia region of Basse has been uncovered.

It has been suspected that a mining field has been operated in the region since 2010 with some reporting it to be a gold mine.

A handful of locals and some foreign nationals were employed to work in the off the book mine operated by Jammeh.

Gold mining along the River Gambia as it flows through Southern Senegal draws economic migrants from all over West Africa. The gold bearing sand is filtered and then mixed with mercury to draw the gold out. © Jason Florio/River Gambia Expedition

Jammeh’s nephew Pa Bojang revealed in 2014 that minerals from Basse were often transported in trucks to the capital, Banjul with only a few trusted aides of the ex-ruler given access to the resource.

However, the country’s Department of Geology could not ascertain what sort of mineral is mined at this reported facility.

Jammeh had transferred the department from the Ministry of Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Resources to his office, giving him total control of its operations and finances.

Mining activities are not part of the country’s budget and revenue statements, and it is excluded in all government reports under Jammeh.

Gambia’s Parliament was told last month that less than $4 million was deposited into the country’s mining account at the Central with tens of millions in revenue unaccounted for.

Gold mined from the River Gambia (L – (c) Jason Florio) side by side with mineral from Jammeh’s secret mine field (R – (c) Abdoulie Sey). Sey uncovered the field and is doing an independent investigation into the mining activities of ex-President Jammeh.

Mining is becoming prominent along the River Gambia, which also crosses into eastern Senegal where mining has become prominent in the small villages of Bantaco, Laminia and Sila Kounda.

Jammeh had forcefully taken over mining companies and mine fields in several parts of the country, turning them into his personal property.

According to the Technology Industry of Mining data, gold investors recently became very interested in the country, especially for the fact that most of its natural resources have yet to be fully exploited.

It lists multiple the natural resources: gold, tin, titanium, laterite, and quartz sand among the minerals mined in the small nation.

Locals and migrants mining gold in pit holes similar to the ones found in Jammeh’s off record field in eastern Gambia, off its namesake river © Jason Florio/River Gambia Expedition

So far not many gold reserves have been found, it says, but the country has a lot of potential in view of the fact that not much commercial gold exploration has been done in the country.

Most of The Gambia’s mining for gold is done by artisanal miners along the rivers, its study found.

Jammeh is now in exile in Equatorial Guinea and since his ouster, Gambian authorities have brought allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement against him.

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