Sun. Feb 28th, 2021

Liberia’s Nimba county lies about an eight-hour drive north of the capital, Monrovia. In the dry season, the road leading into the far-flung region kicks up swirling clouds of red dust. Once the rains come, stretches turn into a near impassable moat of knee-high mud, enveloped on either side by dense jungles that chirp and buzz with the sounds of wildlife. At the county’s northern edge, the Nimba Range’s jagged green peaks crisscross the horizon before spilling over the border into neighboring Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. Nestled among the mountains are lush valleys with rainforests that contain some of the rarest species of wildlife on the planet, including tool-using western chimpanzees, the diminutive pygmy hippopotamus, and the Nimba toad — the only toad that gives birth to live young. The area is near-mythical for conservationists. In 1981, a sprawling 17,540-hectare (43,340-acre) strict nature reserve on the Guinean and Ivorian side of the border was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. While the Nimba Range is renowned for its biodiversity and pristine forests, it’s also home to a different type of natural wealth. Some of the largest and most lucrative deposits of iron ore are peppered throughout the mountains, making it a magnet for mining companies from around the world. Before Liberia descended into civil war in 1990, Nimba was home to LAMCO, a Swedish-U.S. iron-mining company that was one of Liberia’s flagship foreign investments, bringing in a sizable chunk of the small country’s revenue for decades. The ruins…This article was originally published on Mongabay
Sourced from Conservation news