Mines Minister joins African Minerals in ‘blasting for development’
The Minister of Mineral resources, Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray performed his first official function for African Minerals Mining Company on Thursday 27th January 2011 at Ferengbeya Village in the Tonkolili District. The energetic Minister who was in a jubilant mood was joined by his deputy, Mr. Ignosi Koroma and other colleague Ministers and Deputy Ministers including, the Minister of Youth Employment and Sports Mr. Paul Mohamed Kamara, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Ambassador Dauda Kamara, Minister of Education Science and Technology Minkailu Bah etc, members of Parliament, Paramount Chiefs, Local Council Authorities, the Media and Civil Society, to witness the official blasting in the Iron Ore Mines site in Tonkolili District.
The official blasting which was done by the Minister signifies the official commencement of mining as the company is preparing to ship the first consignment of iron ore through it Pepel Port in the last quarter of the year.
Speaking to this reporter after the blasting, the Minister (in forefront of photo above) pointed out the fact that the process marks the development of mining operation and it serves as a key that open the door to economic prosperity for Sierra Leone. He said there are misconceptions in some quarters about the operations of African Minerals, adding that some people are of the opinion that the company will not live up to expectation. “On behalf of the government and people of Sierra Leone I appreciate the fact that African Minerals is developing the infrastructure that will serve as a catalyst for economic growth. We should put our hope on Iron Ore because it is the vehicle to economic recovery,” the Mines Minister said.
The official blasting, the Minister said should place every Sierra Leonean on their toes because it calls for hard work and commitment for the development of the country. He admonish all stakeholders in the mining community including land owners to be patient as government will sit with African Minerals to bring Sierra Leone to the framework of development agenda. “Government will try as best as possible to address the concerns of people in the mining environment,” he promised, and concluded by saying “African Minerals is not operating under secrecy and it is incumbent of everybody to support the company in it drive to develop the country.”
African Minerals Logistics Manager Musa Bangura told this press that they are currently working on the infrastructure including the rail, processing plant and the Pepel Port. He commended all those that have supported African Minerals unto this present stage. Mr. Bangura assured of the company’s firm commitment to live up to expectations. “Our world-class project will surely bring a world-class development to Sierra Leone,” he added.
The General Manager of Tonkolili Mines Project, Pat Ramunno described the project as very important for Sierra Leone development agenda, and commended the fact that they have got an excellent support from the government and community people. The project, he said even though it is challenging, it will be durable and successful. “Iron Ore blasting does not require chemicals. We will protect the environment against health and environmental hazards,” he said.
The Tonkolili Operations Manager, Anthony Ross in his presentation pointed out mining will start in the northern part of the Simbili hill and they are hoping to receive about twenty eight trucks and excavators that will help to promote mining and transporting of Iron Ore. The Operations Manager explained that the company will place a sign board twenty-four hours before any blasting take place, indicating time and direction where to go. He noted that there are blast guards moving around from time to time directing vehicular traffic and passers-by as a way of protecting them from any problem.
The Director of the Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency, Madam Jatu Jalloh commended African Minerals for demonstrating its commitment to the environmental laws of the country.
By Fadda Bakish
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