LRMG launches upgrade, reconstruction project of rail and port

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The Kingho Railway and Port (KRP), a subsidiary of the Leone Rock Metal Group (LRMG) on Saturday, 8th April, 2023 Launched the Upgrade and Reconstruction Project of Railway & Port operations with a total investment of $153M USD to international standards.

The auspicious event was held at the Railway and Port Site in Pepel, Port Loko District, North-West Region in the presence of the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Juldeh Jalloh, The Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Mr. Wang Qing, Kingho Energy Group President, Mr. Colin Ding, LRMG’s CEO, Mr. Gilbert Zhao, Presidential Spokesman, Mr. Alpha Kanu, Ministers, Honorables,  the CTO, Mr. Salim Sillah, Community Stakeholders, Management & Staff of LRMG and other dignitaries from various sectors in the country.

The Railway and Port Operation plays a very important role in the company through the transportation of Iron Ore product from Tonkolili iron ore mine to the Port of Pepel in Port Loko District. The Railway and Port serves as an important component in maintaining and developing the company’s project as well as boosting Sierra Leone’s economy.

It could be recalled that In January 2021, the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources and the National Minerals Agency (NMA) signed the lease agreement granting Leone Rock Metal Group the right to operate the railway and port facility. Ever since the signing of the lease agreement the company have worked judiciously and strictly under the guidelines of the agreement to fulfil all its obligations and mandate and has embarked on several routine and periodic localised maintenance of the facilities to maintain a smooth haulage and port management operation.

The Presidential Spokesman, Alpha Kanu remarked that he has continuously attended LRMG’s events because he has gained lot of respect and admiration for the company’s strategic planning and management abilities. He went on to reference the 20.3 billion Leones CDA fund payment ceremony, and the cornerstone laying  ceremony of the construction of 12 million tons per annum processing and beneficiation plant marking the phase II stage II project as part of the company’s strategic vertical integration drive, highlighting LRMG’s readiness to improve the mining sector and communities in the country. He ended that, upgrading the Railway and Port is an instrumental effort for economic and social sustainable development and that the government is pleased and will continue to support such developmental efforts.

Mr. Salim Sillah, CTO – LRMG, in a presentation, made known the purpose of the meeting. He noted “This launch stands as a symbol of our preparedness and efforts put into reality, the expansion and upgrading of the Rail and Port will improve the haulage capacity of the rail line and the operational capacity of the port, which in turn, will culminate to improve safe transportation services and higher mineral export volumes for all users, including third-party users. He continued “Also, this project will ensure that the port attains an annual material handling capacity of 20 million tons and provide better loading and offloading services to all users.

The President, China Kingho Energy Group thanked the government and the people of Pepel for their continual support to the company, he then stated that the project is beneficial to the government of SL as it will increase Revenue and contribute significantly to the GDP through boom in production and export of bulk mineral commodity, agriculture and construction materials. He informed all present that the Government is responsible for the provision of the collective social goods and services as well as the provision of other social and economic services and in order to meet up with the fire-stated  goals and services, the government needs to collect revenues to serve the community by fairly and efficiently collecting taxes and duties. He commented “Successful revenue growth for the country can attract investors or partners which will in turn fulfill government’s redistributive role. Additionally, Revenue from this project can be invested in the physical fabric communities– enhancing the sporting, cultural and educational bonds that bring young people together who may otherwise be engaged in crime”.

The Ambassador to Sierra Leone from the People’s Republic of China, Wang Qing, established that Sierra Leone-China relationship is sustainable and development-oriented. Additionally, he proceeded that the project is a journey of mutual benefits. He continued “This project is a key to a smooth transportation operation, a top priority for LRMG was to invest in the Rail and Port when it was handed over to the company in a dysfunctional state in October 2020. However, LRMG as a forward-thinking company, today officially launched the upgrading and reconstruction project of the Railway and Port is another new investment shown and proven to be crucial in the company and Sierra Leone”.

“I am here representing the government and the people of Sierra Leone, and I am pleased with the company’s strategic plan to expand the Rail and Port so that other users can have access and work collaboratively with LRMG” stated Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, Honourable Vice President of SL. He also mentioned that mining is vital and as a government, they will support LRMG to improve the shipping capacity of the Port and reconstruction of the Rail. He added “We are happy with the investment, we are ready to collaborate with the company to boost the mining sector in SL, these improvements will lead to increased opportunities for locals to access better facilities and services, as well as the possible expansion of tourism, all of this will result in a positive multiplier and feedback effect, which leads to further strengthening of the economic landscape”.

Dr. Juldeh Jalloh ended by thanking LRMG for their immense support towards complimenting government’s vision and growth pace as it correlated with how mining communities and sector can significantly benefit in the company’s operations. He also commended LRMG for signing an MOU with CTC which indicates the company’s support to third users of the Rail and Port as he informs all of government’s vision to work with LRMG to establish a hub for mineral exports in SL.

 The landmark ceremony climaxed with the official launch of the Upgrading and Reconstruction project of the Railway and Port with cutting of the ribbon by the Honourable Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, President LRMG, Chinese Ambassador to SL, CEO LRMG, and other dignitaries present.

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