November 10, 2016
The Vice Chairman of China Iron and Steel Association, Hou Jun, has visited Sierra Leone and paid a courtesy call on President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma. His visit brings a sigh of relief to the mining industry, which contributes immensely to the country’s economy.
Jun revealed that USD$700 million has been budgeted for the construction of processing plants, as a further expansion of Shandong Iron and Steel project in Sierra Leone. He said that the goal of the company was to collaborate with the Government of Sierra Leone to scale up the China-Sierra Leone economic cooperation.
The Vice Chairman pointed out that his visit was meant to find a way forward for the project.
Jun revealed to President Koroma that his company had received different iron ore samples for testing, and that they but would inform the government about the outcome of the test. He said his company was able to address the backlogs left by the AML and that local employees have been compensated.
He said that Shandong has taken actions to surmount the challenges and prevent future problems. He revealed the company has invested and paid taxes to the tune of US$40m, adding that more funds are needed to be injected in its operations.
President Ernest Bai Koroma, in his statement, embraced the company’s proposal to transform the country’s economy. He acknowledged the challenges faced during the transition period from AML to Shandong.
President Koroma said the transition adversely the government, adding that the drop in iron ore price compounded the situation of difficulty.
The Sierra Leonean President urged the Shandong Delegation to speed up activities through the pumping of capital investment. He pledged his government’s continued commitment to the supporting the company.
“We will continue to support the project because we believe it’s a win-win situation for both the company and Sierra Leone,” he asserted.