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Sierra Leone
Friday, July 1, 2022

Kingho mining lease agreement ratified

By Jariatu S. Bangura

Members of Parliament yesterday ratified the mining lease agreement (MLA) between the Government of Sierra Leone and Kingho Mining Company (SL) limited, which was laid on the table of the House on Tuesday 21st June.

According to the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Timothy Kabbah, the government entered into a mining lease agreement with Kingho mining company which obtained large scale mining license for the operation of the Tonkolili iron ore concession in the northern region on the 8th  January 2020.

He said the Tonkolili iron ore project started in 2010 and mining operations were conducted by African Mineral limited (AML), a company that produced about twenty-four million tons of iron ore during it period of operations.

He said in 2015, the AML went into bad administration and Shandong which was carrying 25% of equity in that arrangement took over the remaining 75% and then became a 100% equity bearer and in 2017, following the Ebola crisis of 2014 and 2015 and downsized in the commodity market, Shandong collapsed.

He said the license was cancelled in 2018 as required by law and in 2020, Kingho was properly vetted through the legal process in acquiring mineral rights and they were issued with a mineral right as required by law and for fiscal stability given the fact the mineral sector is quite fragile, with prices of commodity are quite dynamic it is always factual that extractive mineral companies get into agreement that enable them stabilize the economic status of the country.

He stated that negotiation were done with Kingho Mining Company for a period of three months and that the agreement went to cabinet and they recommended that it be laid in Parliament for ratification, which, according to the minister, was done and was before the House for them to do the needful.

He said the agreement was one that will continue to serve the people of the community, noting that a community development agreement has been signed for the people and that through the agreement,people will have one percent.

Hon. Emerson Lamina said the agreement was in the interest of the country and its people, noting that at first flights used to leave the shores of the country with huge tons of minerals without any benefits for the people.

He said that was the reason NRA had to suspend all travel of minerals out of the country. He said in four months of mining, Kingho mining company has been able to pay huge amounts as surface rent to the people.

Hon. Edward George revealed that when he was working as Human Resources Manager at African Minerals Limited, there was also a HR Manager that was an expatriate which made the work difficult because he had to submit report to the expatriate before it would reach the head for approval.

He called on the minister, the Labour Ministry and the oversight committees of Mines and Labour to do the correction as there were many qualified locals that can head those institutions without the mining companies bringing in expatriates to do the same work.

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