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.
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.
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.
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.