Saturday, 28 July 2007

Bong Iron Ore Mines

Today we travelled for 3 hours on the only working railroad in Liberia, to the abandoned Bong Iron Ore Mines which opened in 1965 at a cost of $78,500,000. The mines were staffed by nearly 500 Europeans and nearly 3,000 Liberians, and boasted a school for the ex-pat children, a golf club and even an aero club, and housed state-of-the-art processing plants that reduced the 65% iron-ore rich rock into 100% iron pellets for export. Sadly, all the ex-pats were evacuated in 1990 when Charles Taylor's rebel army took control of the mines as they swept through the country, and they have never reopened. Today, organised looting on a massive scale from the mines is the only source of employment in the region. Pictured: the processing plant in 1965, and the remains of the processing plant today, having been stripped of anything valuable over the past 17 years. Olly

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