From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, President Koroma Commissions African Minerals Locomotive Train
By Bampia Bundu
Sep 6, 2010, 14:00

It was a scene of wild jubilation and dancing at Sierra Leone’s Queen Elizabeth II Water Quay last Friday September 3rd 2010 as supporters of President Koroma exclaimed their belief that the APC has brought back the Railway that SLPP promised to bring but never did. The supporters were referring to a Locomotive Engine that African Minerals has imported into the country to transport Iron Ore from Tonkolili hills to the Sea for onward shipment to Europe and to China.

Amidst loud jubilations and joyful celebrations, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma on Friday 3rd September, 2010 commissioned African Minerals Limited (AML) Locomotive Train at the Queen Elizabeth the Second Quay in Freetown.

Pres. Koroma walks to the train with his VP, Sam-Sumana & Hon. Chericoco; all escorted by the Quay G.M., Benjamin Davies

Giving a brief account of the essence of the Locomotive Engine, African Minerals Logistics Manager Mr. Musa Bangura said it is intended to be used to build the line in Sierra Leone, specifically to haul existing iron ore hopper wagons converted for ballast. He revealed that the Locomotive weighs 50 tones with all the weight on the loading wheels that is capable of producing tractive effort of 90KN. “The hopper wagons to be used will weigh a maximum of 38 tons each, and 20 will be prepared to perform the specified task,” he informed, adding that the engine will be able to pull 20 loaded ballast wagons on the ruling grade (determined to be 0.9%) for this specific line. He took the opportunity to thank God for allowing him to be part of those bringing Locomotive trains to Sierra Leone once again.

The manager also disclosed that African Minerals will be clearing about 80 brand new vehicles of all types, and other giant mining equipment which he said will be used in the mines. He implored the youth and the people of Sierra Leone to stay hopeful as there are jobs on the way for them. 

AML Staff pose with the partly covered Locomotive Engine

In his statement the Minister of Mines and Minerals Resources who also doubles as Political Affairs Minister, Hon. Alhaji Alpha Khanu noted that the commissioning exercise the President and African Minerals have done has not happened for the past 40 years in Sierra Leone in so far as the railway project was concerned. “Today marks the beginning of the 36 months that the president promised to turn the country around,” he noted, adding that the Locomotive Engine would surely kick start the economy and provide more jobs for the youth and the people of this country.

Speaking also was the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Alieu Pat Sowe who expressed his elation to see that the African Minerals have revived the railway system once again in the country.  He said the rail was a means of transportation once enjoyed by the people of this country but was rolled out for cost exigencies. He assured the company of his ministry’s fullest support in the actualization of their objectives.

AML Logistic Manager Musa Bangura inspecting the consignment at the Quay

In his submission, the Minister of Employment, Labour and Social Security Mr. Minkalu Mansaray proffered that the government was in deed on the right track with yet another history made in the country as a sign to show that all what they promised the people of this country are being delivered step by step.  He called on African Minerals to join hands with the government in providing jobs for the people of Sierra Leone as according to him government is seriously looking for the actualization of the 20,000 jobs for youths.

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Local Government and Rural Development Ambassador Dauda Kamara stated that the future of Sierra Leone has started to get brightened with the train serving as an eye opener to the country. He commended the company for their investment initiative, while also assuring them of his ministry’s support at all times.

3 Musketeers: Ambassador Dauda Kamara, Alpha Khan & IB Kargbo

In his remarks, the Minister of Information and Communication Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo expressed his happiness, saying he is really proud of the actualization of the president’s dream of turning the country’s economy round. “I have been informing the public about upcoming developments but some critics have been denying me,” he said, adding that it is now the time to tell people that the APC government doesn’t make fake promises but real ones.

The Chairman, Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Minerals Hon. Chernor Maju Bah assured the government of their [Parliament’s] fullest support to ensure that they pass laws aimed at pushing development in the country.

Joy as Chericoco, Benjamin Davies & the two Fadikas join hands

In his short contribution, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Labor, Hon. Foday Rado Yokie of the SLPP commended African Minerals for their effort in providing more jobs for Sierra Leoneans.  He said even though he represents an opposition voice in parliament, the SLPP was in full support of developments in the country and that their party is always ready do their best as opposition members to advocate for jobs for Sierra Leoneans irrespective of tribe, religion, region or nomenclature.

Delivering the keynote address, President Ernest Bai Koroma said Sierra Leoneans have entrusted their destiny in the hands of his government, and that they have been living on hope. He in that vein noted that the commissioning ceremony will serve as a demonstration to prove to the country that the hope reposed in his government is not an empty one, but one that will push the country forward. He said within a short time government signed the Mining Contract with the company, they have brought surprise. “My government signed a mining contract with African Minerals just few weeks ago and now the company has started to prove its capability of changing things around,” he noted.  He said with such development, he is sure that people will have jobs that will make Sierra Leone develop fast where everybody will stand tall to regain our rightful position internationally.  He admonished management of the company to ensure that the equipments  especially the train get to be utilized for their intended purposes effectively.

President cuts the Ribbon to officially commission AML Locomotive Train

I.B Kargbo licks his lips in anticipation at the Propaganda dividends

As H.E. makes his Statement, V.P. & Alpha Khan look on admiringly

Cross Section of AML Equipments which were offloaded at Quay

Cross-Section of AML Vehicles which were offloaded at the Quay

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