Speaking at a stakeholder’s presentation at the Taia Hotel Aberdeen recently the Corporate Affairs Manager of African Minerals Mustapha Kamara said that 740 Sierra Leoneans will be gainfully employed by the company and they are contributing to local and regional development in all the areas that they are going to mine iron ore.
African Minerals officials were using the opportunity to discuss what they have done so far and what they intend to do in the near future.
Mustapha Kamara further stated that for a period of 5-10 years, the roads at Bumbuna area were inaccessible but when African Minerals started their project they have constructed roads which has made traveling safe for people plying that route. He disclosed that safe drinking water, good schools, scholarships, school materials and stipend to teachers are what they have been giving to the community. Additionally he said they are also engaged in emergency response programmes wherein community members are quickly attended to when they are faced with danger. The Corporate Affairs Manager further disclosed that they have spent over Le4 billion on community projects even before the start of mining.
Colin Forbes said that they want the spirit of partnership with Sierra Leone and also want to add value to the neighboring communities as these are also ways in developing the country. On employment he said that it is their desire that employment is very strong and that is why they have a transparent and efficient recruiting process.
The process of recruiting first starts with the locals if they could not get among them they go national before going to the Diaspora, he explained “if the skill is not available within the next two it is then we go international, there is no point bringing people from outside when there is someone here to do it.”
The Vice President of mining John Blanning stated that one of the advantages of ore mining in Tonkolili is that it is much closer to Europe than Brazil. He said that they are going to build two railways and one will be refurbished as the railway is one of the important means of transporting the ore.
Speaking about the process Blanning said the techniques that will be used include blasting and open excavation, and the ore will be crushed to a fine silt texture and concentrated in a series of process that is located near the mine. John Blanning added that concentrate will be transported over 200km to a new, purpose built port and the proposed port facility will be a deep water port comprising a causeway, trestle and berths located 700-800m off shore.
Steve Allard Vice President of infrastructure in his statement said that the mine and process plant will require large quantities of power and water, and because of this they have done a lot not only for themselves but for the people in the community. He said that they provide infrastructure and accommodation support services.
He disclosed that African Minerals has signed a 99 year lease agreement with the government of Sierra Leone to reconstruct, manage and operate Pepel Port and the Pepel- Marampa railway and that a range of material handling facilities will be established in the main port which includes heavy haul railway, Tagrin port, stock pile, car dumper, unloading, ship loading facility with jetty, docking berths and conveyors. “The secondary port will house a fuel depot, container terminal, power generation and support services.”
By Betty Milton