As part of provisions of the Mines and Mineral Act and in keeping to their Corporate Social Responsibilities the African Minerals over the weekend presented the company’s Environmental Social Health Impact (ESHIA) report on the ongoing Tonkolili Iron Ore project to the people of Lunsar in the Marampa Chiefdom, Port Loko District.
The ceremony attracted various personalities including chiefs and civil society members. The rationale behind such a forum was to create an opportunity for the people in the mining communities to know the current environmental and social health impact of the company’s mining activities so as to enable them asses and make meaningful contributions in that direction.
Speaking at the forum the Director of Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency SLEPA Kolleh Bangura noted that it was because there was no environmental protection agency existing in the country by then that led the DELCO mining to mine in an unchecked manner that left the communities in a bad and deplorable status.
“It is to this fact that the Government of Sierra Leone decided to set up SLEPA to make sure that all mining activities do not disturb the land, sea, and the environment in the long run when the companies shall have left the country. He on that note assured the people of Lunsar that SLEPA would make sure that the bad history of mining in the country does not repeat itself by making sure that farms destroyed in the course of mining operations are being compensated for. Mr. Kolleh finally confirmed that the Africa Mineral presents environmental and health status of operation is favorable because according to him they had been assessing the Africa Mineral mining sites.
African Minerals’ Deputy Corporate Manager, Abdul Deen Sesay said presenting such a report was a demonstration of the company’s commitment to the beneficiaries and the country at large. He said the company over the past years of operation has been meeting its corporate social responsibilities in the area of the award of scholarships, the payment of compensation to property owners, the construction of a health center in the district and the improvement on water supply among others.
“This Environmental and Social Health Impact Assessment report has to be also taken to other chiefdoms in the district for a concerted participation,” he informed, while calling on the people to exercise patience with the company in the area of job provision and other facilities as there was more time considering the long stay the company will have to make.
Civil Society representative, Abass Dumbuya called on the Africa Mineral company to continue it transparency so that the youth and other people of the working force who are not yet employed can be encouraged. He also used the opportunity to call on AML to provide electricity and construct good roads for the community.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.