Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 February 2020:
President Dr Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone has today said that while the country is now open to specific partnerships that would support the integration of mining-related training and harness mining-specific technology to create innovation hubs that would guarantee the country’s strategic education outcomes, he is looking forward to working with the right partners.
Speaking at the Mining Indaba – the world’s largest mining investment taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, the president said: “……what we want as a nation are trustworthy, credible, and patient investors – investors who value fair and ethical business principles and practices; investors who are interested in a sustainable, long-term relationship with our country.
“You see, business is not a zero-sum game and it should not be. Business is transactional in essence. Renegotiation’ and compromise are not dirty words in business. All we seek, as a country is a cordial engagement in which all parties get to a meeting of minds on how best to re-shape and develop that investor-host country relationship, so that we both have a win-win outcome,” he said.
President Bio, who has taken a strong and deliberate position on fighting corruption, informed the gathering of investors that his government has been down hard on corruption since his election in 2018, adding that the country’s mining-sector policies are well thought-out and informed by the principles of transparency and accountability at all levels.
“If a deal does not look right and smell right, we would rather leave it outside the homestead. As a Government, we want patient and credible investor partners. We are not interested in players who speculate against what they argue are unproven reserves or unclear geological and technical data in order to wring out unfair deals.
“We have completed a nationwide airborne geophysical survey. We now have very high-resolution datasets from that survey. The preliminary indications are that we have extensive proven reserves of metals and ores,” he said.
President Bio also said that patient and credible investors would study the datasets and then engage with the country’s mining sector professionals and the government in frank and open dialogue, on how they could do business over the long term.
Sierra Leone’s Director-General of National Minerals Agency (NMA), Julius Daniel Mattai, told a country-specific case study event, which featured presentations and discussions of the first-ever such sophisticated nationwide airborne geophysical survey since 1930, that resource depletion is a reality in a country with over 60% unemployment rate and massive poverty and illiteracy.
“Therefore, we must learn from the mistakes of the past. Acquiring geophysical information is good, especially with the type of datasets and various derivatives fantastically showing these mineral resources. But data must be properly managed to surmount the massive challenges and make sure that we have the platform that allows investors to access them online and define areas they are interested in and express interest,” he said.
Mr Mattai also announced that by end of March, they would have had the online platform where potential investors could access and buy the datasets, clearly stating the procedures and processes to access and use the information.
“With the Directorate of Science Technology and Innovation, we will make sure that intellectual property rights and privacy are managed by using the requisite algorithm. We have a President that is determined to make Sierra Leone the new destination for investment and we at NMA will make it work from a win-win perspective,” he assured.
READ PRESIDENT BIO’s FULL STATEMENT HERE: