The Honourable Minister of Mineral Resources Alhaji Abubakar Jalloh has on Friday July 18, 2008 met with diamond miners, local dealers and exporters of Diamonds and Gold in Kenema district to find a way for sanity to prevail in the mining industry.
In his opening remarks the chairman of the programme who is also the Provincial Secretary East Alhaji Salia G.Magona described the visit of the Mines Minister and entourage to Kenema district as significant for dealers and miners in this region
Welcoming the Minister and his entourage to Kenema district the chairman Lebanese committee Alhaji Alie Hassan on behalf of his committee members welcomed the minister and his entourage in the eastern region.
He disclosed to the minister and his team that all diamond exporters and miners in the eastern region are ready to abide by government policies for the development of this nation.
Alhaji Hassan referred to the mining sector as the economic back bone of Sierra Leone adding government needs to rehabilitate the road network system within the country to improve the living standards of the people.
In his statement the government-mining engineer in Kenema Ibrahim Barie said the exporters and dealers are cooperating with the mining ministry in this region saying that mining activities have been dormant recently in this part of the country, which he says is due to the political atmosphere in the country.
He appealed to the mines ministry for more mines monitors in the region in order to improve their operations.
In his contribution the Resident Minister East William Juana Smith said diamond exporters and miners are partners in development and he therefore encouraged them to cooperate with the ministry of mines by obtaining their licenses and paying their taxes regularly saying that no country will develop without tax payment by its citizen, and that no government will survive without the cooperation of its people; adding his government is ready to develop the mines industry by improving on the mining standards of the mining communities.
William Juana Smith disclosed that some dealers from far away towns are risking their businesses by undertaking mining ventures without legal documents to do so. Mr. Smith reaffirmed his commitment to track down all illegal miners and dealers who he said are depriving the people of Sierra Leone.
In his keynote address the Mines minister Alhaji Abubakarr Jalloh expressed satisfaction over the cordial relationship that exists between his ministry and diamond dealers and miners in the region.
He said the motive of his visit to Kenema district and in the Eastern region as a whole is to identify some major problems that are affecting the miners and to find possible solutions to their problems.
Alhaji Abubakarr Jalloh further said that miners, local dealers and exporters do not comply with the payment of licenses and mines related issues, which he says will provide benefit to mining communities and the entire citizenry of Sierra Leone.
The minister further said the government is losing a lot of money to defaulters of the mines regulations. He showed concern about the smuggling of precious minerals from the country, which is often, referred to as the land of minerals though its people remain poor.
Abubakarr Jalloh referred to President Koroma as a democratic man adding that he has a lot of development plans for this nation. He said his ministry had good vision to improve on the mining activities in the country and to ensure that mining companies rehabilitate roads and bridges where mining is carried out.
He encouraged then to cooperate with government policies and change the attitude for the development of Sierra Leone.
The vote of thanks was moved by Mohamed Munda.