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
That sounds great, cool, sweet and hope it all works well as planned. Thanks.
Our countrys interest will be best served if Kingho mining is allowed to get on with the job of implementing their business plans, and the impact they will have in helping promote the welfare of the local communities around areas of the mines, like Supporting community development programmes. This should be a long term commitment goal. This is the sort of demands government should be making when negotiating with mining companies. The mining companies are more than capable of delivering for local communities than the central government in Freetown. For instance, building health centres,offering Scholarships to local school children, housing, jobs, access to clean water like bow holes, construction of road, and safeguarding the environment should also be top priority for the mining companies, working with the central government.
Even if the government gives the company discount on the amount they pay to the government coffers, they should set up an account where the company pay funds directly for local development. And local communities should say how they want that fund to be spent through their paramount Chiefs. Too often communities in which natural resourced are mined, are the last to benefit from natural resources they produce. Kono District that produce Diamonds and contribute to government coffers, is good example of another neglected area of Sierra Leone, given the enormous amount they put in.
We don’t want the communities living in the mining areas in Tonkolili District, feel neglected by the mining company and tbe government. We don’t want the Niger Delta sort of situation in that part of Sierra Leone. Lastly, which ever government comes to power in 2023,Kingho mining should be allowed to carry out their operations with no interference from which ever party that got elected in 2023.
With all that sensitisation, yet they let their children play on the rail of all places, “Bo this na Feb plans oh”
I wish the company all the best, this is our dream – we the young – to see that our minerals are being processed here. I am a young electrical engineer, my dream is to work for the company. I have a national Diploma in electrical and electronic engineering from Sierra Leone opportunities industrialisation centre. I applied to the company as low voltage Electrician.
Only general statements. Where and what exactly are the tangible and sustainable projectsmfor the benefit of the wider community in stage 1, stage 2, stage 3?