Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 September 2020:
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources – Timothy Kabba and his team, last week conducted a two-day familiarisation tour of three mining companies in the southern and eastern districts of the country, to discuss mining operations.
The companies visited were – Sierra Diamonds Limited in Tongo, Kenema district; Sierra Rutile Limited and Sierra Mining Holdings Limited (Vimetco) in Moyamba district.
The minister and his team discussed ways the government can help the mining companies deal with the impact of the coronavirus on their operations.
The mining companies warmly welcomed the Minister and his team and spoke about the effects the pandemic is having on their business. They highlighted some of their plans for the coming years, as well as the work they have done in their mining communites before and during the pandemic, in order to help prevent the virus.
Karl Smithson, Executive Director of Sierra Diamonds Limited, said that his company is pleased with the way the government is allowing them to operate in the country. “Tongo Kimberlite diamonds are hybrid in nature, they are among the best diamonds in the world. The Tongo Diamond Project is one of the most significant diamond projects in West Africa. The company has plans to provide over 700 jobs for the locals. The landscape of Sierra Leone and Liberia are unique in terms of mineral in Africa”, he said.
Theuns De-Bruyne who is the Acting Chief Operations Director of Sierra Rutile Limited, said that over the past two years, the company has contributed immensely towards human capital development by training local people, as well as giving them scholarships to further their education in various tertiary institutions in the country.
Basudeb Datta – the General Manager of Vimetco, said that his company will continue to pay taxes to the government, and called on the Minister to look into how best the government can reduce taxes to help mining companies cope with the impact of the pandemic.
The Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Mr. Timothy Kabba commended the companies for their activities, both in the mining sector and their local communities.
He added that the companies should improve their operational capacity as the pandemic is beginning to show signs of subsiding in the country and the world at large.
The Minister promised to provide assistance to the companies to help them cope with the impact of the pandemic.
“I want to see the companies succeed so that the lives of the people will be better because they own the land and the minerals”, he said.
He commended the companies for the scholarships and training they are providing the local communities.
“I want to encourage the companies to ensure that the communities and the country at large benefit from the ongoing mining process so that the country will not be a total loser amidst the plenty of resources it has”, he noted.
Adressing the employees at Sierra Diamonds Limited (SDL), Sierra Rutile Limited (SRL), and Vimetco, the Mines Minister said: “I want to encourage you to work hard, be patient, law abiding, loyal to your country and be supportive to your family for a better life and a better economy of Sierra Leone”.
He also commended the companies for creating job opportunities for local people and their contribute to the country’s economic prosperity. He promised that the Government of President Bio will stop at nothing to making sure that their mining rights are protected.
Good moving in the mining industry. Thanks to the mining industries which had to convene with the minerals and mines Minister. The kind way of various articulation and work done by the heads of the mining companies is good definitely; they will be surely rewarded.
It always sounds courteous and nice in the beginning,until SLPP officials for reasons best known among themselves decide to flip like a coin tossed by a referee in the air and do the unthinkable. lets just hope such warm gestures and uplifting words coming from the new Minister becomes transformed into hard work and productivity for the people of Sierra Leone – empty rhetoric in these hard Covid 19 economic times just will not suffice. Its time, I think for the new Minister to separate himself from the obstreperous pack of wolves and embellish his actions with honesty,sincerity and understanding.
First things first,get your house in order – wipe the slate clean,and bring all disgruntled and aggrieved mining companies to the negotiating table and listen not in haste,but with empathy to what they have to say,and then ask them to suggest a logical sensible way forward. Listen,if you can dig deeper into your soul and find what it takes to stay calm, thoughtful and humble throughout all of your negotiations, there will be avalanches of success after success sweeping you off your feet that you never imagined towards mind-blowing prosperity.
Again,the minster should strive to settle the ongoing litigation between the government of Sierra Leone and SL Mining amicably and in good faith – that is an Albatross around the neck of Sierra Leone that has to be removed. What a woeful, appalling,degrading punishment for a struggling nation like our own to be hopelessly shackled,chained and subjected to. Goodness gracious!What a sad story of chances missed and opportunities lost by the government of Sierra Leone.
These minning companies should be given the breathing space to operate without too much government over regulation. As long as they stick to their agreement granted on their operational licence, paying taxes and as the article indicates helping local communities, it makes a huge difference in terms of creating employment and opportunities for our young unemployed youths.Right now given the ravages of Covid19 its what is needed.
Usually, communities sitting on vast mineral resources have always been the poorest and the most neglected in terms of government development projects in the country. Its like having these minerals buried underneath their soil is a curse rather than blessing. We should also remind the government and the mining companies to respect the environment as they carry out their operations. The Covid19 pandemic is going to have a long lasting effects on both developed and developing economies like ours. Exports will be affected due to travel restrictions and companies readjusting their businesses model to the new nomal.
Its only right the Minister urged the employees to work hard and be law abiding, and loyal to their country. I alomost fell off my chair when I read that part of the article. Look who is talking. I Wish he can dispence the same advice to his government colleagues that want to take our country backwards instead of forward. May God God bless Sierra-leone.