Sierra Mineral Holdings commonly known as VIMETCO has paid surface rent of 4.4 million new leones (4.4 billion old leones) to landowners of four chiefdoms in the Moyamba district.
General Manager of VIMETCO, Alex Ivanov, thanked landowners for their patience and support to the Company during the challenging days.
He encouraged them to use the money received judiciously, especially towards investing in the education of their children so that they would be able to secure lucrative jobs.
VIMETCO’s Chief Financial Officer, Abdul Bangura said this year, the Company is paying 4.4 million new leones (4.4 billion old leones) to land owners in its communities of operations. He said the District Council will receive 15%, Constituency Development Fund 10% (Le443M), Chiefdom Development Fund 10% (Le443M), Paramount Chiefs 15% (Le665M) and Land Owner 50% (Le22B) respectively.
He said the payment comes as compensation for the lands utilised by the company to undertake their mining activities.
CFO Bangura said in the recent past, the company had extraordinary challenges which started by the end of 2021.
The energy crisis in Europe he revealed, affected the company’s vertically integrated holdings in Rumania badly and they informed them that they need to curtail significantly the uplift of Bauxite and this made the company faced with some sales challenges.
He said also with the Ukraine-Russia crisis, it further deepening the pressure upon the Company and now they are having challenges for them to sell to their parent holding because of the war.
He said the situation is yet to be normalized as expected, but that as long as operations continue, no matter how low, the Company will continue to pay surface rent to its operations land owners.
Farmers whose lands have been utilised due to the mining activities are however eager to receive the monies which according to some will help educate their children and meet some of their essential needs.
In the recent past, following very harsh challenges posed by the general global crisis including the recent Russia-Ukraine war, VIMETCO suspend operations in the country for an initial period of one month pending review on global developments.
Overall in the world the Company saw such an increase in the energy price and European countries are mostly affected very badly.
Energy is one of the most important parameters that is being looked at in the production of alumina and further down the line metal aluminum.
One of the beneficiaries, Amie Phamer thanked the Company for what she described as “timely payment of the rent”. She assured that she will use the money to settle her children’s school fees and other important domestics arrangements.
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, Bonthe and Bo district in the Southern province.