“We are here to discuss the way forward for the iron ore project. We have received three batches of iron ore samples for studies and we will apprise the government of the outcome”, he said, adding that the company had addressed outstanding issues left behind by African Minerals, the company it bought over, and had compensated local employees.
He said they had taken multiple measures to avert any problems in future, noting that transhipment was one of their challenges. He also noted that they had paid taxes and invested about $40 million in operations.
President Koroma welcomed the company’s proposal to turn the economy around and noted that the project went through a very difficult transition from African Minerals Limited to Shandong Iron and Steel Group.
“The transition affected government and the company as it happened at a critical period. The situation was compounded by the drop in price of iron ore which was a very difficult moment for not just the company but also for the government”, he said.
The president encouraged the Chinese investors to scale up their activities through the injection of capital investment into their operations and assured them of his government’s continued support.
“We will continue to support the project because we believe it’s a win-win situation for both the company and Sierra Leone,” he said.
According to a state house communication, owing to the strategic economic importance of the Shandong iron ore project, the president had asked that the mines minister be providing him with regular updates on the company’s operations generally.