From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Mines Ministry Pays 3.5 Billion to Mining Communities
By Courtsy of MMR & PA Press Unit
Sep 3, 2010, 17:12

The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Political Affairs has ended a tour of the four provincial cities of Kenema, Bo, Kono and Makeni on the 30th of August, making payments to beneficiary chiefdoms of the Diamond Area Community Development Fund (DACDF) totaling 3.5 billion Leones.

The tour was headed by the supervisory ministries of the extractive industries, Hon. Alpha Kanu and local governments, Ambassador Dauda S. Kamara.

Welcoming the central government officials in Bo, the host Paramount Chief, Prince L. Boima, thanked the Ministry of Mineral Resources for creating the new Mines and Minerals Act 2009. He added that the Act is now working for the development of the country. He also thanked the two Ministers for paying the money at the right time when their chiefdom communities needed funds for development.

Minister Kanu, in overviewing the DACDF payment, expressed gratitude for the community’s compliance with new Act. The Minister also explained that the payment was for areas that produced diamond mining licenses for the year 2008 to 2009. He stressed that the amount of money that is paid to the chiefdoms is based on the number of licenses taken in the chiefdom not on the number of diamonds produced. “The more licenses that are taken in your chiefdom the more money you will receive from the DACDF,” the Minister stated.

This massage was repeated in all the cities the Minister visited. He made it clear to the people that the scheme is intended to discourage illegal mining and to promote legal mining. He called on the paramount chiefs to work with the Mines Monitoring Officers (MMOs) in the Chiefdom for the rapid development of their communities and the cumulative increase of licenses.

Minister Khan further touched on the various development programmes within the extractive industries in the country, citing the recent Mining Agreement the government signed with the African Minerals Limited, which he stated, “is of great importance to the socio-economic development of the country”.

He finally noted that payment of the next DACDF for 2010 will be done in the various Chiefdom headquarters, to ensure the total involvement of host communities in the implementation of development programmes and to ensure the payment were used judiciously for the benefit of the people.

Presenting the cheques to the Paramount Chiefs in the various districts, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Local Government and Rural Development called on the Paramount Chiefs to use the monies judiciously for the social advancement of their various Chiefdoms. He pointed out that the President is working hard on his Agenda for Change towards the development of the entire country and that the Chiefs must be a part of that change.

Ambassador Dauda Kamara presented cheques as follows: Kono District- Le1,540,870,354; Kenema District - Le 913,970,003; Kailahun District - Le 130,388,955; Bo District - Le 724,350,582; Pujehun District - Le 281,192,137; Bombali District - Le 82,371,029 and  Kambia District with only one Mining license received got Le 9,730,466.

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