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African Minerals doing more than expected

African Minerals doing more than expected

‘They’re not only here to mine but to help grow the economy and for the people to benefit.’

The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, H.E. President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, on Saturday told his people in Lokomasama Chiefdom that African Minerals Limited (AML) has surpassed his expectations in the mining company’s efforts in promoting economic development through the various community projects being implemented throughout the country.  (Photo:  l-r Frank Timis, CEO African Minerals and HE President Ernest Bai Koroma)

“This is a big surprise for me, because what I am seeing now in Pepel and compared to what I knew of Pepel from the last time I visited was not what I was expecting.  African Minerals has surpassed my expectations.  I thank them for living up to their promise and commitment, though it wasn’t easy,” President Ernest Bai Koroma said with delight.

The President, while delivering the keynote address for the commissioning and handing over of buildings and infrastructures, costing around Le2 billion, also said Pepel was a ghost town but today the activities show the township has sprung back to life.

He said he believed all Sierra Leoneans must thank God AML has lived up to their commitment; because due to their commitment, with the support of other stakeholders, Sierra Leone is regarded as the second fastest growing country in the world.

“We should all hold fast and continue to climb up. Sierra Leone now, with the support of AML, will continue to climb up. They are not only here to mine but to help the economy to grow and for the people to benefit,” he said, adding that the projects are to develop the local content which is vital for the development of any community.

“The activities of AML are in many chiefdoms and benefiting the people. I, as a President and my Government, focus on development. By what AML is doing we will not turn back but will continue to support this company. Those who are trying to distract us must know they will not succeed,” he said amidst thunderous applause.

“The sun has created consciousness amongst the people,” the President continued, adding that people are aware of development and no one will fool them anymore and that the Government will continue on its development pursuits.

“The detractors have failed. You, the people, know what development is; what action is, and what propaganda is,” he said, adding that AML has 100% support from the Government and people of Sierra Leone and that those bent on distracting their efforts are wasting their time.

“We as a Government know where we are going and we are focused,” he noted.

The Executive Chairman of AML, Sierra Leone, Mr. Gibril Moseray Fadika, said he has never seen a leader in Sierra Leone who is more development oriented than President Ernest Bai Koroma.

“AML is working to change the lives of the people.  Sierra Leone has got a good President and an African-Romanian brother, who are ensuring Sierra Leoneans benefit from their minerals,” he said, adding that the President implored them to promise that AML will help change the lives of the people of Sierra Leone which they are doing.

“We are looking at sustainable development and nobody will reverse the landmark of the President. This is not a political thing but to promote national development and everyone should be onboard to support processes of development like this,” Mr. Fadika stressed.

The Chief Executive Officer of AML, Mr. Frank Timis, informed the hundreds of onlookers that he was very pleased and hoped that AML can do more for the children of Pepel in particular and Sierra Leone in general.

The Member of Parliament representing Pepel, Hon. Kombo Kamara, said Pepel island was a ghost town and hardly thought of before the coming of African Minerals.

When a Police Officer is deployed in Pepel it means he is being punished.  But AML has changed the face of Pepel from that of a ghost town to a lively town,” he said proudly.

He said before now, vehicles were not plying Pepel, with people only accessing the island through locally made canoes. Now, he said, the construction of the roads and the flyover has made it possible for easy access.

He said employment opportunities provided by AML in the Lokomasama Chiefdom has helped about 70% of their people to gain employment and thus reducing the crime rate in the district.

Among the structures commissioned by the President are a health centre, a club house, a fly-over, a market and a store, and also Fadika Drive.

The occasion attracted people from all walks of life and representatives from the various communities in the chiefdom and spiced with various masquerades and cultural displays amidst shoutings of “Ernest! Ernest! Fadika! Fadika! African Minerals! African Minerals!”

By Abdul Hassan Fackie

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