Update – African Minerals Rescues Economy, Jobs, Infrastructure and Development
The operational site of the $3 Billion Dollar strong African Minerals Limited (AML) – Ferenbgeya in the forested hills of Bumbuna in the Tonkolili District became the centre nerve of the country as the crÃ¨me-de-la-crÃ¨me of the Sierra Leonean Society consisting of the presidency, parliament and his cabinet, the business world in the country, civil society, the media and a vast number of citizens as they converged last Friday to hear a long awaited pronouncement from the African Minerals Executives that is to kick start the dawn of economic, infrastructural and decisive development of the country. This grand event took place Friday January 22 as president Koroma and all that were present saw the official launch of the infrastructural aspect of the project. (Photo:Â President Ernest Bai Koroma and Mr Frank Timis in a hearty handshake)
Chief Executive Officer of the company Frank Vasile Timis was there to announce the commencement of a first of its kind investment and development portfolio in the country as according to him over $3 billion will be invested by the company in the mining of the largest magnetite iron ore deposit in the world in the coming years starting from now; a project he told everybody involves the extraction of over ten billion tons of iron ore.Â
The long awaited mining project involving the biggest iron ore mining company according to the Chief of African Minerals Ltd., will start off now with the infrastructural aspect, as 16 different international engineering and construction companies have come into the country to begin the first phase of the project for this year which the president was there to launch.
The International Companies he said will only be around to offer services which local companies cannot afford and that all of the international engineering and construction companies will be peering with local service provider companies to implement the multi-billion dollar project that was officially kick started past Friday January 22, 2010.
Frank Timis as part of his long awaited announcement of the start of the infrastructural and first mining export phase of the project to the nation, made known that many other precious minerals have been discovered in the country, handing the president a map of the company’s state of the earth exploration exercise of the whole of the country that enlists the various minerals discovered in the country among which he mentioned Uranium, Nickel, Blackstone, and Copper etc.Â Already he said a total of $150 million has been spent in the exploration, camping and drilling in the hills of Tonkolili. Another $160 million he said has also been set aside to commence the road, rail and port construction jointly known as infrastructural phase of the project.
He stated that the project is a catalyst for growth and development of the country and is bound to benefit “even our unborn children as it will last for up to 70 to 80 years”.
Talking at the occasion, Chairman of the Parliamentary oversight committee for Mines and Political Affairs Hon. Chernor Bah admonished all stake holders in the mines sector, especially those having bearing with African Minerals to make use of the unique opportunity provided by the company saying that all should forget about petty politics and be development and growth oriented.
He thanked the Chief of African Minerals Frank Timis for the trust, confidence and love he has shown for the people and government of Sierra Leone noting that the CEO has indeed risked millions of dollars to take the project from scratch seven years ago; to the exploratory stage and now very soon to the mining and export stage. He also noted that for a country to develop, there is every need to set its priorities right and that in his opinion; “is just what the president and his team has done, acknowledging that the project is only one of its kind that is to start in the country.
Hon. Bah however cautioned that if African Minerals should fail, Sierra Leone as a state and nation will also be part of that failure adding that “that is the very reason why we must see reason to put hands on deck for the first of the country’s development flagship mining project to succeed and then we all will invariably succeed and benefit”.
Launching the project, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma stated that the occasion marks a very big and important day in the history and development of the country. He stated that the company has made very big pronouncements that have brought hope for the socio-economic growth and development of the Sierra Leone and that the exportation of 40 million tons of iron annually as intended by the company certainly requires a lot of resources and that the people of Sierra Leone must be the primary beneficiaries of not just the already excellent corporate social responsibility of the company but must also be actively involved for the good of every one. He acknowledged that he has time and again looked at the African Minerals Proposals and has got good reason to believe in the company, trust it, and encourage it to continue its exploits. The president noted that even though the country boasts of untold mineral wealth, it has little to show for it. “My government, the African Minerals and any other company that has got interest to mine in the country have agreed to change this trend and ensure that the mines agreements are reviewed until they are in the favor of the people and the development of the country; our wealth must be seen on us” he concluded.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Focal person for African Minerals in Sierra Leone Gibril Moseray Fadika aka Super, in assuring the people and government of Sierra Leone, said the project has been planned to enhance the capacity of local service providers and take very seriously to their corporate social responsibilities as already exhibited in the many such ventures they have taken which is why they won the Global Award for Best Corporate responsibility. He further said the project will come with many fringe and direct benefits that the people of Sierra Leone will enjoy as part of the African Minerals package. He noted among other things that whilst employment will be offered to a vast many of our youths, other areas like the corporate benefits citizens of the country are bound to enjoy, the use of the private port and rail by other business people, the provision of additional electricity supply and helping in the completion of Phase II of the Bumbuna Hydro electricity project will all be part of the package. He applauded government’s pro-activeness in ensuring the signing of various aspects of the African Mineral Concession which according to him goes a long way ensuring the eradication of poverty, joblessness and donor dependency in the country.
He allayed the fear that the company will not live up its expectation and said he felt gratified that the project has finally come to fusion saying “as a Sierra Leonean, I am here to ensure that the company, my country, and my people benefit from this big goodness that has been brought to our country by Frank Timis. Â
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