Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 February 2020:
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources – Foday Rado Yokie, told reporters last week that reviewing the government’s agreements with mining companies and the Mines and Minerals Act of 2009, is aimed at ensuring that the people of Sierra Leone benefit from the country’s mineral resources.
Speaking at a weekly government press briefing in Freetown, he said in the next week his ministry will conduct nationwide consultations that should lead to the amendment of the 2009 Mines and Minerals Act.
Sierra Leone he said, has been losing millions of dollars in royalties and taxes to mining companies; money he said, that should have been spent on tackling poverty in the country.
He also spoke about the legal action brought against the government of Sierra Leone by SL Mining, following the government’s decision to suspend its contract. The case he said is still in court and therefore cannot comment on the matter. (Photo: Minister of Mines – Foday Rado Yokie).
He however denied as fake news, social media reports suggesting that the government has lost its case to SL Mining company and ordered to pay eight hundred million dollars in damages.
The Director General of the National Minerals Agency – Julius Daniel Mattia, told reporters that sixteen thousand jobs will be created before the end of this year in the mining sector, but did not say which mining companies will create these jobs and how.
The government is still struggling to find investors to take over the mining operations of companies whose contracts have been terminated by the minister of mines; and the few mining companies that are currently in operation do not have the capacity to create additional jobs.
Critics are accusing the ministry of mines of peddling unrealistic claims about job creation in a sector that is struggling to maintain its current production schedules.
The Director General of the National Minerals Agency said that the mining sector is expected to increase its contribution to the country’s GDP by 100 percent by the end of 2023 – an election year, when the people of Sierra Leone will go to the polls to decide whether to renew president Bio’s mandate to govern the country.
Presenting an optimistic outlook for the mining sector, he said that investors are very willing to come into the country and invest in the mining industry.
He said that over the last few years fifteen large scale mining licenses have been issued and that four operational mines are up and running. A year ago, he said, there were only two small scale mining companies but currently there are thirteen.
He informed reporters that license of concession has been granted to Kingo Mining Company along with three others that are going to create thousands of jobs this year.
Speaking about the recently conducted Geo-Physical survey, he said that for the first time in the history of Sierra Leone, the country now knows how much minerals it has as opposed to the past when companies tell the government how much minerals they are shipping out with nothing to prove if they are telling the truth or not.
He said that in 2019, 274 Mining Monitors were employed and they have been deployed all over the country to monitor and make sure the mining companies do what they are supposed to do for the country to realize greater profit from the sector.
He stated that the best and largest Rutile in the world is in Sierra Leone and that Sierra Leone supplies 30 percent of the world’s natural Rutile.