The port of Pepel and the 52-mile railway line from the mine at Marampa, built by the then Sierra Leone Development Company (DELCO), are seriously under dispute.
The Pepel port and the jetty were used by DELCO for the exportation of iron ore which have now proven that no mining company can do without the port of Pepel and the 52-mile railway line.
The people of Pepel faced serious setback when mining was stopped. The railway line had been uprooted and sold as scrap metal whilst the wagons of the trains and other machines were also sold as scrap until government placed a ban on their exportation.
When Awoko visited Pepel over the weekend, it was discovered that there was a company named TECSBACO stationed there to buy metals. Its representative, Roxsley Clemens, said his company had bought Pepel from the government.
Awoko also observed that a mining company by the name of London Mining Company (LMC) had a signpost stationed at the jetty and security guards from where they were constructing a bridge, two miles into the island.
LMC had gained license to mine iron ore at the Marampa mines and, according to the agreement, they should have access to the facilities at Pepel. They have said they could not do without the Pepel port and the railway line.
There is another company named Moydow Mines international- Shakill resources limited mining bauxite and they too are guarding the railway line from further vandalism.
The company’s general manager, Mohamed S. Kabba, explained to Awoko in Port Loko that the port and the railway line at Pepel was very important to his company.
He said, according to their mining license, they should have control over the rail and the port. “If that is not done it will hamper the production of other mining companies. We are not competing with any company for the railway line, it is just that we all have access to it,“ he said.
The bone of contention at Pepel is now centred around ownership of the port, jetty and the railway line as it has been proven that no company will operate without the use of the port.
The section chief, Alhaji Bai Adams Kabba of Kamasongo section, Lokomasama chiefdom, raised concerns with Awoko that, “we have heard about LMC because their caretaker told us that they will be taking over the port and I have been seeing them coming in and out of here.”
He said government had not told them about any company despite seeing three companies in the area wanting to use the harbour and that the community would be happier if many companies were allowed at Pepel.