In a well attended meeting at the company’s plant site at Gondama in the Moyamba District, the Chairman of the Moyamba District Council Professor Herbert Bob Kandeh, remarked that all development organizations in the District should be accountable to their beneficiaries in order to make sure that the funds meet its intended goals.
Professor Kandeh advised the community landowners to invest their monies to educate their children rather than spending it to settle disputes.
In his welcome address, the acting General Manager of Vimetco, Mr. Basudeb Datta acknowledged the developmental roles of the Paramount Chiefs and talked about their supportive role in achieving the company’s goals. He reassured community members that the Sierra Mineral Holdings Limited is committed to all Government requirements regarding compliance with mining regulations.
The acting General Manager said Vimetco is always paying surface rent on time and it will continue in that direction as a proof that the company adheres to its obligations. He disclosed that a sum of one billion, three hundred and sixty- four million and seventy thousand (Le1, 364,070,000) leones will be paid to all landowning families in their concessions.
Paramount Chief, Tommy Mualele Jombla of Upper Banta Chiefdom on behalf of his colleague Paramount Chiefs commended Vimetco. He pledged support to ensure the unhindered operations of the company.
The Community Affairs Manager Joseph Amadu, whilst dilating on the 2017 surface rent noted that 50% of the said amount is going to the direct beneficiaries who are the landowners in the primary host communities whilst the other 50% is going as development funds in the following proportions: 15% to the District Councils of Bo, Bonthe and Moyamba; 15% to Paramount Chiefs; 10% to constituency development in wards 76, 80 and 83; 10% as chiefdom development. He said all the finalized computation for payment was verified and confirmed by government to effect the payment.
Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources and National Minerals Agency, NMA, Representative, Mr. Henry H. Kamara lauded the transparency displayed by Vimetco in the whole process; highlighting the role of the government to ensuring that companies follow right procedures. He commended the company’s management for compliance. Mr Kamara encouraged local community members to send their children to school. He said the NMA has developed a monitoring system to audit how these monies are spent in the communities.
A symbolic presentation of Cheques to PCs and other community stakeholders was done to climax the ceremony.
Sierra Mineral Holdings Limited is the only bauxite mine in Sierra Leone and the fourth largest mining employer in the country operating in the Moyamba, Bonth and Bo district in the Southern province.