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Repairing roads adds up to a win-win for Sierra Rutile and local community

Repairing roads adds up to a win-win for Sierra Rutile and local community

Thanks to Sierra Rutile’s recent programme of road repairs, 82 kilometres of road in the south of the country are now widened, smooth, and pot-hole free, benefiting the company’s mining operations and the social and economic life of the local community.

The roads in the area of Sierra Rutile’s operations are vital to the efficient functioning of the mine.  However the passing of time, heavy trucks, and the wear and tear of the rainy season, had caused them to deteriorate substantially and they were often impassable in the rains.  Indeed for a period of several weeks last year, all roads from Freetown were blocked by vehicles which had become stuck in the mud, leaving lorries, carrying equipment for the mining company’s new dry mining project, stranded in Moyamba Junction.

Today journeys in the region are quicker, more comfortable and safer. The drive from Moyamba Junction to Sierra Rutile’s mine site used to take up to three hours; it now takes one hour and 30 minutes; the journey time to Freetown is now less than 4 hours.

For Sierra Rutile, the road rehabilitation programme will boost productivity by allowing more efficient movement of materials, parts and equipment from Freetown to the mine. Local people will also benefit from safer and more frequent transport, as well as shorter journey times and improved access to health facilities, schools and local markets.

A 17-man team worked on the roads using a fleet of Caterpillar earth moving machinery included excavators, articulated dump trucks, a couple of bull dozers including the Big D9, as well as a compactor, a water tanker and water pump for filling the tanker. They started work on December 12 and finished almost four months later on April 3.

Roads were levelled and filled and then covered with a surface wearing course of laterite (compacted clay and gravel). Along the way, at the request of local communities, the team also levelled four football pitches, cleared land for three village schools and opened up tracks through the bush that had been blocked up years!

Andy Taylor, Head of Operations at Sierra Rutile said:  “The road rehabilitation project was a major investment for Sierra Rutile, but the benefits for both the company and the community, are substantial.  There is less risk of accidents, less damage to vehicles and the transport of people, goods and services has been made much easier.  We are delighted the project has been so successful, and thank the communities for their patience while the work was underway.”

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