Expert: Marampa Mines agreement is a win lose deal

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By Alusine Sesay

The Government of Sierra Leone is losing millions of dollars as a result of the large-scale license agreement between the government and Marampa Mining limited dated November 2021, according to a mining expert.

Mohamed Kamara, a mines expert, said that the stabilization provisions are detrimental to government revenue generation drive and the development of the communities where the mining activities are taking place.

He said that it is apparent that the government is losing a staggering sum of US$ 20 million to million US$ 30 million annually due to tax concessions granted to Marampa Mines, adding that this amount would increase upon full implementation of the clauses of the agreement.

He said that under the agreement government granted a lot of tax waivers to the company which shows that it was at a weak position when negotiating the agreement.

He said that while mining continues to play a key role in economic growth of Sierra Leone, in this case this will generate only very limited benefits in terms of contributing to sustainable development.

He said that, formal mining in Marampa Chiefdom started over 90 years ago when  “Delco” obtained mining rights over these ores in 1930 and started their development. “But despite this wealth of mining history you will agree that the community has not reaped the full benefits of its natural resources,” Kamara said.

He said that the Lunsar community and its environs remain underdeveloped with lack of electricity, pipe borne water, modern road network. He said the even Marampa Mines has little to show in terms of implementing concrete Community Development Action programme in Lunsar and its vicinities even though the mining activities have adverse social and environmental consequences for the communities living next to extraction sites.

He attributed the failure to weak government institutions, inconsistent mining policies, lack of expertise, corruption and unscrupulous investors.

The mining expert said the Marampa Mines agreement should be reviewed because it’s not in the interest of the nation. He said that in years to comes the authorities will prove him right.

He maintained that the agreement does not give Marampa Mines the significant role in national economies.

He said that Citizens need to have the practical means and political space to monitor and – if necessary – challenge how resources are being managed. “They need to be reassured that the benefits from extraction are shared fairly across society and that they are invested in their country’s long-term future. And all stakeholders need to ensure that mining delivers tangible benefits for local communities, protecting the most vulnerable in society and the natural environment they depend on,” Kamara said.

 He said that the authorities should ensure that   communities near the mines have  a better quality of life; company develop  ancillary industries and work with communities to ensure that their social fabric and livelihoods are not negatively unnecessarily affected.

He urged authorities to renegotiate the agreement so that it would be reviews for the betterment of the country and the mining communities.

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