The donation was a demonstration of the company’s commitment in meeting its corporate social responsibility amidst the difficulties facing the industry.
Before the transition of Africa Minerals to Shandong Steel, AML provided food and non-food items for Muslims during the Holy Month of Ramadan every year since its establishment in the country. In preserving that tradition, the three chiefdoms of Kalansogoia, Sambaia Bendugu and Kafe Simiria in the Tonkolilii Districts and the three relocated communities of Freengbeia, Wondugu and Foria have received assorted food items as their Ramadan gifts from SDS worth over forty million Leones.
The revitalisation of the venture was done under the leadership of the newly appointed Chairman Yuanquing Liu who took up office few months ago.
Welcoming the delegation from SDS, the Host Paramount Chief Alimamy Bockarie Yellan Koroma III expressed satisfaction that SDS has resumed its tradition as things were when there was stability in the market and industry. He acclaimed the cordial relationship that exists between the company and the Communities.
One of the Chief Islamic Scholars vowed to mobilise all Muslims to continue to pray for the company to succeed in its operations. The Member of Parliament was equally thrilled and gratified that SDS has actually kept to its promise of continuous dialogue with the people in the project area. Hon. Rose Marie Bangura noted that that was the beginning of a string of opportunities for inhabitants in the mine area. She promised that they as beneficiaries will continue to pray for the company to overcome all the difficulties militating against its development. She pleaded with the Company to help with the resurfacing and grading of the Magburaka / Bendugu road which is said to be in a deplorable state.
The Head of Cooperate Affairs and Government and Community Relations, Amb. Anthony Navo (Jnr) said the Company respects the Mines and Minerals Act. He said the Company will continue to work within the legal provisions and work with the community people. Ambassador Anthony Navo thanked the Paramount Chief and all those that heeded to the Company’s call at a very short notice. According to him, the Company is going to intensify its community engagements with the project affected people as that will lead to a better understanding of the status of the project.
He recalled that the month of Ramadan is usually the time the company tours the entire project area to give alms to the people. He said as a responsible organisation, SDS will continue to share, dialogue and improve on the relationship between the people and the company. Announcing the gifts, Ambassador Navo emphasised the importance and the need for both company and Community people to maintain a healthy relationship through dialogue.
Sources close to the newly appointed Chairman said Yuanquing Liu has demonstrated a strong sense of leadership and has built a mutually respectful relationship between him and the Sierra Leonean nationals.
He is said to be passionate about the communities and has asked them to own the project which will give them more opportunity as in the days of AML. A couple of months ago SDS paid Surface Rent worth close to a billion Leones. He recounted that now Muslim Community have benefited hugely from the Company.
The Chief Operating Officer of SDS Company, Mr. Scott Louch explained the current status of the Company and the dramatic fall of the iron ore in the world market. He reiterated the fact that the Company is running at a loss for now; but because the mine has a life span of sixty years, their focus is the long term. He encouraged all to support the project by protecting its property whilst they as a company will do their utmost in helping with some of the communities social needs. He said the company is going through some tough times particularly with the price of the iron ore which has again witnessed a dramatic fall. But in spite of all these difficulties, the Company is still paying salaries, still employing and religiously meeting its CSR.
Speaking on behalf of the National Minerals Agency Director of Community Affairs,
Communications and Public Relations, Ibrahim Satti Kamara noted that SDS is on the right path as this is what they as a regulatory body is expecting from Mining Companies. He encouraged the Company not to relent in demonstrating its CSR, especially to affected communities. He added that SDS is the only Company that has fully complied in the move towards the implementation of the CDA.
The Member of Parliament for Lokomasama Chiefdom Hon. Kombor Kamara hailed President Ernest Bai Koroma for supporting the project and creating an environment for foreign direct investment to thrive. He promised the government’s commitment to ensuring that the project succeeds.
Paramount Chief Baimaro Lamina Angbanthor II acclaimed the company for its development in his chiefdom and jobs created for the people. He expressed great optimism that there are more benefits coming in for the people of his chiefdom and the country.
The meetings climaxed with the delegation from SDS and community stakeholders breaking fast and praying together.