Sierra Rutile has temporarily suspended its operations in Sierra Leone and asked its staff to stay at home apart from a selection of skeletal staff including security staff to maintain the company’s assets.
Human Resource Manager at Sierra Rutile Limited, Barry Honnah said the temporary suspension is to allow the company and the government to reach a mutually agreeable resolution on a fiscal regime.
Barry said: “We understand that this will add a layer of uncertainty for staff, but we urge you to be patient while we take the necessary steps to remodel our business for a better future and reach agreement with the government of Sierra Leone on an appropriate fiscal regime that would again support production, alongside supportive market conditions”.
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance, Sheku Fantamadi Bangura in a letter to the company in January this year informed them of the government’s decision to reverse an agreement that went through Parliament in 2001 which gave the company some tax incentives to be able to continue with their operations.
Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Julius Mattai could not comment when contacted for a reaction to the company’s decision to temporarily suspend their operations.
Similarly, in October 2023, the Government of Sierra Leone through its Minister of Mines unceremoniously announced the cancellation of the Port and Rail Agreement with ARISE IIP.
The government terminated the ARISE Lease Agreement and approved a new proposed Lease Agreement negotiated between the GoSL and Kingho Railway and Port Company.
The decision of the minister and his government saw Sierra Leone and its people losing several opportunities including a total investment of 476 million dollars covering the refurbishment of the Pepel Tonkolili Railway work, Pepel Port, Railway connectivity to Marampa mines, the introduction of passenger rail services and rail connection to Guinea.
The ARISE project should have expanded economic activities by providing jobs for Sierra Leoneans and enable passengers’ locomotion from Tonkolili through Bombali to the Port Loko district.
It would also have introduced passenger rail service that provides communities with improved mobility and trade access, increase mineral export with an additional 20 million MT, 10% dividend to government, surface rent to landowners, annual royalties, PAYE and other taxes.