December 7, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Administration and Finance Manager of AMR Gold Exploration Company has spoken about the ways they are empowering landowners in their operational areas, citing the establishment of artisanal mining cooperatives as well as the provision of at least five acres of land to enable locals engage in artisanal mining.
Mohamed Sultan Daffae told Concord Times that they initiated the cooperative artisanal mining to legalise, regularise and provide sustainable employment and community benefits to all local stakeholders and landowners.
He said the company was working closely with the National Minerals Agency, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and local authorities to ensure that the co-operative ventures are viable, especially with regards the rehabilitation of mined areas to provide agricultural land, possible fish farming ponds and improve water quality to support food security.
“As a socially responsible business and a large private sector employer in Sierra Leone, AMR Gold has developed and implemented community programmes in our areas of operation. We have provided livelihood support to the different communities in our operational areas of Sella Limba and Sanda Loko Chiefdoms,” said Daffae, adding that the move was meant to better the living standards of indigenes.
The AMR Administration and Finance Manager revealed they have intensified their community development programmes by building primary schools in Laminaya and Kayigrana villages, constructed bridges and expanded feeder roads to link other villages in the Sella Limba Chiefdom, provided scholarships and school furniture to eight primary schools in the Bombali district and rehabilitated the Kamakwie Native Administrative Court ‘Barray’ and Police Station, among others.
Mr. Daffae also disclosed that during the Ebola outbreak they provided two-hundred infrared thermometers to villages in Sella Limba and Sanda Loko Chiefdoms, plus personal protective equipment, one-hundred and fifty Veronica buckets and bags of chlorine to help end the transmission of the virus.
“Apart from the aforementioned support, AMR Gold is the only foreign-based company with 99% Sierra Leoneans in senior management to junior staff level,” he said with pride, adding that the company comprises a group of well respected international investors, managers, administrators, geoscientists, environmental and community experts who believe they can play an active and key role in the post-Ebola rehabilitation of the country’s mining sector.
Meanwhile, chairman of local landowners, Chief Bunduka Conteh, told this medium that even though AMR Gold has not resumed mining, the company has provided livelihood support for both Sella Limba and Sanda Loko Chiefdoms.
He said the formation of the mining cooperative would create more jobs in the community and allow landowners to have ownership of their land.