Mr. David Keilie
London Mining Company
18 June 2010
APRIL 8 PRESS STATEMENT ON THE LONDON MINING
We acknowledge receipt of your letter addressed to the National Chairman on the above subject. We find it rather outlandish for you to write to us as a citizen of Sierra Leone who intends to contribute to the processes designed to safeguard our collective welfare on a London Mining Company Limited letterhead. We are also perturbed at your unfettered interest in this matter as you signed the said correspondence as Managing Director of the said institution; hence your futile attempt to defend the indefensible.
That notwithstanding, we will respond to your several concerns and contentions which are all aimed at maintaining some of the present obnoxious clauses which to us should be improved and be revisited so that it is both in line with our existing laws and is in the best interest of our nation.
As a party, we are very much pro-investment and are most concerned about our economic growth, the current mass unemployment and the development of our country. But most significantly we do believe and utterly subscribe to the primacy of the rule of law as the head corner stone of our democracy and the engine of our economic growth.
It was Justice Brandies in the celebrated case of Omstead V. United Sates who opined that ďif the government became a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for laws; it invites everyman to become a law unto himself, it invites anarchyĒ. And it is out of that innate concern for government to adhere and uphold the laws of the land and our responsibility as the leading opposition party to ensure that the interest and welfare of Sierra Leoneans are best served, that motivated our comments on your agreement with government.
Your reliance on Section 40 Sub Section (4) of the Sierra Leone Constitution as the legal authority proffered by your best legal minds and policy experts for the government to enter into an agreement that is contrary to an existing Act of Parliament is flawed and untenable.¬† All Section 40 Sub Section (4) of the Constitution does is to grant the Presidency responsibilities to execute agreements in the name of Sierra Leone.¬† But it further requires him to do so within the ambit of the law according to his Oath of Office in the second schedule of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone. ¬†
Your contention that the said agreement seeks not to circumvent the Mines and Minerals Act 2009, but to ensure stability in the investment climate from the vicissitudes of politics is ridiculous, because as the political adage goes ďParliament does not bind its successorsĒ.¬† Further the Act itself more than anything else ensures stability in the industry as it was reached by consensus of all stakeholders as the regulatory and legal framework for the industry.
The fact that the Marampa Mines has been derelict for 30 years should in no way goad us into negotiating from a position of weakness at a time when the price of iron ore is escalating as a result of global increase in the demand for steel, especially from China and other South East Asian countries.¬† At the time of the negotiation of the agreement the price of ore was $65 a ton and now it is $166 a ton and no provision was made to enable our country benefit from the price increase accordingly.
Your assertion that the resumption, after a 30 years break in iron ore export from Marampa Mines by your London Mining Company is enough reason for Sierra Leoneans to be jubilating since it shall bring enormous benefit to the nation, is even more ridiculous.¬† We are therefore saddened with your bold attempt to boast of the contents and provisions of such a beggarly agreement that is deliberately intended to trick this country.¬† As a matter of fact this country could have had better offers from well meaning companies from other parts of the world than what London Mining Company Limited is offering as enshrined in that bogus agreement; especially so when viewed from the point that this government was hoodwinked into reducing from 37% Company Tax as provided for in the countryís Mines policy to a bare 6% of the Companyís profit.¬† This singular offer could have encouraged any other company to give this country better returns from the Marampa Mines.
You again claimed to have done so well for our unemployed youths by providing 1,000Ė2,000 jobs for them forgetting that the jobs are all unskilled jobs with limited space for well trained, qualified and highly skilled persons.¬†
The London Mining Agreement is an affront to global and regional best practices, especially when compared to the superior deal and revenue generated by our neighbours, Liberia who are benefiting from a US$1.5 billion investment with a 30% shares in the company, 4.5% royalty on gross income, US$3,000,000 annually as community development projects in mining areas and a total 3,500 direct jobs and 20,000 indirect jobs with Arcelor-Mittal, a world renowned steel conglomerate.
In summary the company in Liberia offers the following:
a) Mittal Steel Liberia Holdings Limited shall not import unskilled labour into Liberia subject to availability.¬† The company shall employ qualified Liberian Citizens for skilled, technical, administrative and managerial positions.
b) Most¬† interesting is that the company shall ensure that subject to availability within five (5) years of the agreement, from effective date of signing, shall ensure that 25% of all senior management positions in the company are held by Liberian citizens, increasing to 50% within ten (10) years.
As alleged by you, Sierra Leone is subject to political and social risks.¬† What can you say about Liberia?¬†¬† We are sure that you will agree with us that Sierra Leone is more stable than Liberia since it has gone through a democratically conducted election, for three successive five-year terms which has even now resulted in having a change of Government through the ballot box.
As a party we wish it to be known that our queries were certainly not addressed to London Mining Company but our Government that has greatly exhibited its lack of commitment in seeking the interest of the people of this country; a reason for which it was elected to govern.¬† Your service therefore as spokesman for the Government is uncalled for.¬† On this note the opposition shall continue to draw the attention of the public and the very Government to same.¬† The Sierra Leone Peopleís Party shall not relent in its continued avowed fight in promoting the collective welfare of the people of Sierra Leone which included yourself, in a manner that is honest and genuine with committed determination that conforms with our partyís responsible leadership style.
Finally we wish it to be known that indeed your interest as a Sierra Leonean is what we are seeking as a credible and reliable opposition Political Party to secure, so that when you shall have left London Mining Company (willingly or otherwise) whose interest you are now much more interested in than even your citizenship as a Sierra Leonean, you shall have a better place to return to and live proudly in the country you call your home, which you have betrayed.
Alimamy H. Bangura
Secretary General, Young Generation
Cc:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† National Chairman/Leader, SLPP
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† National Secretary General, SLPP
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Director of Communication, SLPP
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Secretary to the President
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Minister of Mines and Political Affairs
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Minister of Finance and Economic Development