From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, African Minerals Dialogues with stakeholders
By Bampia Bundu
May 19, 2010, 11:43

One of the leading Mining Companies in the Country, Africa Minerals Limited has on the 17th May 2010 engaged stakeholders in a one-day dialogue session at the Taia Resort Hotel, Aberdeen in Freetown. The session brought together Paramount Chiefs from affected mining communities, representatives of civil society, Members of Parliament, and Mines Ministry officials.

In his opening address, the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources and Political Affairs Mr. Abdul Ignosi Koroma commended the company for their role in helping develop the country, especially in providing education, good roads and other basic necessities for communities in the mining concessions. He said the forum was to relay to stakeholders recent progress made by the Company, and give opportunity to stakeholders to pose pertinent questions to senior staffs members of the entity.

Mr. Koroma described the presence of companies like the African Minerals as a blessing to Sierra Leone, and hoped they would operate in a very friendly community so as to help change the face of Sierra Leone.

On behalf of African Minerals, Vice President John Blanning gave a brief history of the companyís involvement in exploration in Tonkolili. "We have been exploring in the deposit at the Sula Mountain range for the last seven years and that in 2009 we confirmed the presence of a world- class magnetic iron Ore deposit there," he informed. He said when once in full operation the projectís benefit will range from Employment for the youth to raising government revenues above water. He spoke of plans such as the construction of a haul rail from Tonkolili to Makeni, as well as a new deep water port west of the Tagrin Ferry Terminal and a services port to the east of Tagrin.

According to the Corporate Officer/PRO of African Minerals, Mr. Mustapha Sesay they have signed a 99-year lease agreement with the Government of Sierra Leone to reconstruct, manage and operate the Pepel Port and the Pepel Marampa Railway, adding that they are working towards initially mining hematite (another type of iron ore) that overlies the Tonlolili magnetite deposit and exporting via Pepel Port.

Questions were encouraged from stakeholders present.

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