Marampa Mines faces criticism as  replica of ‘Western exploitation’

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Graig Dean is a US Senator

The scars of colonialism remain indelible in the lives of the entire African race, with Sierra Leone being no exception. After independence, Western companies flooded the country to invest mainly in the mining sector and the result was eleven-year civil war, which ravaged the country and left it more backward.

The presence of Western multinational companies investing in the mining sector in Sierra Leone is still visible, as they are seemingly used as bargaining chips to exert Western control or influence over the government and citizens. 

 Despite Marampa Mines Limited (MML) boasting  of  providing Le38 billion ($1.74 million)  as a Community Development Fund and respectively  launching  a scholarship scheme in Marampa and Maforki Chiefdoms in the Port Loko District,the communities  still remain deplorable as community elders questioned the implementation of projects under the CDF.

“We were in jubilant mood when the company made the pronouncement of providing the money for community development, but we are worried that all that was promised is becoming another thing else. Our chiefdom remains challenged with basic facilities like pure drinking water and better health facility,” lamented Pa Sorie Kamara of Maforki Chiefdom.

During the launch of the scholarship scheme and the provision of the CDF in the community, Director for Community Relations at Marampa Mines, Professor Sheik Umar Kamara, noted that the company’s investment in education is one without equal anywhere in the world.

“But we are yet to see tangible result of the said scheme because the community records one of the highest dropout rates in the country.Our children walk miles to access better school. We thought this would have been a thing of the past but the condition remains the same.We are yet to see a true reflection of that money in the community,” said Morlai Sesay,a concerned youth in the Maforki Chiefdom.

Aside from the poor implementation of community development activities, the company has come under serious criticism from several fronts.

Mohamed Kamara, is a mines expert, who took a swipe on the mining agreement between Marampa Mines and the government of Sierra Leone, stating that the stabilization provisions in the agreement 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.

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