Since it started operations in Sierra Leone in 2005, Sierra Mineral Holdings I Limited (SMHL) has kept its promise to the Government of Sierra Leone and the people of Moyamba district in making sure that mined-out pits are closed and rehabilitated in an environmental and socially responsible manner.
Mr. Sidi Y. Turay of the Environmental Health and Safety Department of SMHL said: “In fulfilment of the EPA Act 2010, the company has reclaimed 30% of the mined-out pits. The closing and reclamation of mined-out sites were done by back filling the pits with overburdened material followed by top soil for the purpose of achieving topography similar to that before mining.”
He maintained that the reclaimed lands were deep ripped to prevent erosion and improve aeration. The natural growth of re-vegetation is enhanced almost all over the reclaimed sites after re-spreading of top soil even without the company’s tree-planting seedlings.
On the other hand, reforestation of the reclaimed land was of prime importance to Sierra Minerals Holdings I Ltd, said Mr. Turay, adding that 8% of the mined-out pits have undergone reforestation and the company was targeting a major increase in the reforestation area by the end of 2014.
The company also has a tree planting nursery located at Jenega 3 which has sustained water supply. The nursery currently has 16,500 seedlings of palm trees and 3,000 trial cashew seeds. Similarly, 410 seeds have been planted in Wunde, 1, 2400 in Gondama 1 and 1450 in Konta 1a.
“We are focused on developing our projects in a manner that respects and protects the environment, thus enhancing benefits to the nearby community,” reiterated Mr. Turay. He added that “Sierra Minerals Holdings 1 Limited has a continual commitment to environment, health and safety issues”. He said by the end 2014, SMHL would have doubled the amount of acres reclaimed and improved greatly on reforestation.
Meanwhile, community people around the areas affected by the mining in Moyamba district have expressed their satisfaction at the commitment of SMHL to making sure their lands are useful after mining.
Sierra Mineral Holdings Limited is part of the international industrial investment groups, Vimetco N.V., which started operations in July 2008.
“In 2014, we plan to produce 1.6 million tonnes of bauxite and our resource base is 30 million tonnes approximately,” Turay disclosed. “We’ll continue to make positive impact on the people and the environment.”