Abdul Malik Bangura: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 March 2021:
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kingho Investment Company Limited, Gilbert Zhao last Saturday disclosed that the vision of his company is to build an internationally respected iron ore industry in Sierra Leone.
Mr Zhao made this disclosure during the official opening ceremony by Kingho Mining Company of the New Tonkolili Iron Ore Mining Project at the mining site in Ferengbeya Village, Tonkolili District, Northern Province of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
The CEO said that through safe and best mining practices, Kingho will continue to do business in Sierra Leone “with a trail of development in all facets of life which the company is hopeful to contribute to.”
Furthermore, in elaborating on the relevance of the mines towards the development of Sierra Leone, Mr Gilbert Zhao said that he envisions that the “mine will have profound and transformative impact on the national economy as was in the recent glory past and it will also have transformative effect on our impact communities by offering jobs, economic opportunities, training, and other business opportunities.”
In addition, the CEO noted that Kingho has a strategy and business model that will lead to rapid and sustainable economic development of Sierra Leone through the company’s Integrated Iron Ore Project Model.
Expanding on the Integrated Iron Ore Project Model, the CEO said that it will involve 3 stages. “Stage 1 which is between year 1 – 3, we projected exporting totally up to 20Mt of 57% Iron Ore by the end of Year 3. In stage 2 between Year 4 – 6 when we will complete our beneficiation plant, we will be producing high value 5.7Mt per year of Iron powder with a grade of 65%. We hope to complete our vertical integration process in stage 3 wherein for the first time Sierra Leone will boast of a steel plant industrial park in the country,” Mr Zhao noted, adding that Kingho will expand production capacity up to 30Mt leading to the construction of a steel plant.
“Kingho Company pride ourselves with the way we treat people and our communities with fairness, respect and dignity and respect of the national and local laws” Gilbert Zhao detailed, whilst further elaborating that “even before now, we have embarked on corporate social responsibility projects and we will do more on that front by supporting tangible and sustainable projects that will benefit the wider community.”
Speaking on behalf of government, the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Honourable Musa Timothy Kabba assured the people of Tonkolili that on the start of the operation, his ministry and the National Minerals Agency (NMA) will ensure that Kingho expands on its social corporate responsibility.
He urged the people of the mining communities to be very patient with the company as according to him, “the company took over at a very difficult time when many other companies worldwide were shutting down”. He called on the people to be very optimistic with regards their mines and assured that government will do everything possible to ensure that the minerals benefit the people.
In another development, the Management of Kingho Investment Company Limited is with the greatest regret informing the general public that its train which departed from Ferengbeya Village, Tonkolili District, on Saturday 20th March 2021 around 16:00GMT and was plying through the 192 kilometre railway for the port town of Pepel around 18:50 GMT, hit a two-year old girl at CM 3, Kilometre 66 near Yonkro Village, Maforki Chiefdom, Port Loko District.
According to report collected from our train operators, the girl was playing on the rail when the bucket of the moving train hit her right foot. She was rushed to the Port Loko Government Hospital.
The Company representatives visited the girl’s family. The girl was immediate transfer from the Port Loko Government Hospital to the Emergency Hospital in Freetown, where she is currently in a stable condition.
So far, management has been very robust and swift in its response to the incident. This is in tandem with our commitment in putting safety modalities in place to ensure that residents along the railway are protected while our operations are going on.
Over the past weeks, we have engaged communities around the railway both on community radio stations and through community sensitization about the use of the level crossings – to stop, listen and look for trains. We also urged pedestrians to maintain a three-meter distance away from the railway on both sides.
Another key message from us was for communities along the railway to look after their children. We also educated them not to put anything on the rail or climb up the wagons, etc. We have also recruited level crossing flagmen directly from the villages close to railway to further help in protecting residence around the rails.
These robust measures are indications to reiterate the commitment of Kingho Management on the importance of safety along the railway. We understand the development of the company’s operations cannot be achieved without the support of communities, and the communities would also benefit from our development. Thus, we expect the communities to provide an enabling environment for the optimal performance of the project.
It is our hope that this public notice will re-echo our commitment towards protecting the safety and health of all Sierra Leoneans around our direct impact operational areas.
For more enquiries contact:
Abdul Malik Bangura, Public Relations and Media Officer, Kingho Investment Company