The incoming minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Alhaji Abubakarr Jalloh, has said “I am going to make the difference in the ministry of mines and mineral resources”.
He made this statement yesterday in a handing over ceremony while addressing the outgoing minister Mohamed Swaray Deen, top officials and staff at the ministry’s conference room.
The minister noted that, “I am very happy, very proud and ready to work not for my interest but for the interest of our nation”.
Mr Jalloh added that, “I will maintain the culture that I have met in the ministry so that we could live as one family”.
He added that “the All People’s Congress (APC) government believes in change… in order to affect this change we must all work together assiduously”. He admonished them to put away the issues of partisanship and have confidence in him.
Presenting the handing over notes to the new minister, the outgoing minister Alhaji Swaray Deen said prospecting and exploration activities had been very brisk, leading to the possible development of producing mines in the next one to two years in diamond, gold, iron ore and bauxite production.
He added that the ministry had the mandate to “develop policies and programmes for the systematic and economic exploration of mineral resources as well as formulate appropriate regulations for the mining industry and related activities to ensure that the nation derives maximum benefit from its mineral resources.
Mr Swaray Deen noted that the Sierra Rutile Limited, a subsidiary of Titanium Resources Group (TRG), started rehabilitation work in April and that after a ten-year break due to the rebel war, production and export of Rutile started in March 2006.
Thereafter, he said, “Rutile production is expected to increase from present 110,000 metric tons to 220,000 metric tons for the next 10-13 years”.
On bauxite, the outgoing minister disclosed that the former Bauxite mine owned by SIEROMCO had now been taken over by a new company, Sierra Minerals Holdings, a subsidiary to TRG.
He added the company had a planned production of 1.0 million tones per annum for the next 10 years.
On gold, he disclosed that gold export was picking up from total 751 ounces valued at 263,478.58 United States Dollars, in 2005, to 2642.10 ounces valued 1,062,533.78 in 2006 and a total of 5,444.05 ounces valued at 2,394,230.49 at the end of August 2007.
On iron ore, Mr Deen stated that a mining lease was originally issued in 2005 to a locally based company, Tecsbaco international incorporation limited, which had transferred the lease to the London Mining Company (LMC) that would take over the Marampa Iron Ore Mining Project. On Alluvial diamonds, he said about 1,700 artisanal diamond mining licenses were currently operating in Kono, District, Kenema, Kailahun, Bo and Pujehun. He disclosed that the export figures of alluvial diamonds for 2001 to 2007 were as follows: Year 2000 ten millions, 2001- 26million, 2002 -41 million, 2003 -76 million, 2004- 113 million, 2005 119- million, 2006- 102 millions and in 2007 as at the end of August 85= million.
Similarly, the outgoing minister of Agriculture Dr Sama Mondeh handed over to the incoming minister.