By Francis Ndanema in Moyamba
Paramount Chief of Lower Banta Chiefdom in the Moyamba District, PC John Jibao Russell Nyama, has challenged comments made by the Constituency 83 member of parliament that Sierra Rutile mining company “has done very little for its host communities”.
According to the traditional ruler, Hon. Edward Style Jengo has got it all wrong as “Sierra Rutile has done a lot in my chiefdom”.
“I would have agreed with him if he had targeted Vimetco mining company, but to say Sierra Rutile is not doing much in their host communities is totally incorrect,” maintained PC Nyama.
The MP, who is representing Constituency 83 in the Lower Banta Chiefdom, Moyamba District, was speaking in the well of parliament during the first allotted day for members’ reaction to the presidential address to parliament when he said Sierra Rutile, the oldest mining company in the country, could not boast of constructing a single community health centre or hospital in their operational communities. The MP said such was “exploitative and an excellent way of how not to support the President’s Agenda for Prosperity”.
The MP also condemned “the small money” being paid to land owners as surface rent for their land.
It could be recalled that land owners had complained that the money being paid to them as surface rent was too small and hardly enough to take care of their basic problems as opposed to what they used to earn when they were utilising the land to do their farming.
However, highlighting what he referred to as development programmes the rutile miner had undertaken in his chiefdom, PC Nyama told Concord Times that the company has built schools, hospitals, and constructed water wells and court barrays, among several others, in all communities it operates in.
He insisted that the people are paid [for their land] according to the government standard. The MP, Chief Nyama went on, “should come down to the constituency and join us in tabling the concerns of the people to the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources and Parliament so that the surface rent would be increased”.