Mining Companies Violate Local Content Policy
It is only in Sierra Leone that corporate institutions neglect and violate provisions of simple regulations governing their operations. The sad aspect of these acts of impunity is the fact that the authorities concerned are practically doing nothing to force these errant institutions to respect and abide by simple laws.
In addition to the Mining Act for example, all mining companies are expected to also go by the dictates of the Local Content Policy.
This policy clearly makes provision for employment opportunities for Sierra Leoneans and Sierra Leonean companies. This is to prevent international investors from exploiting the local people and institutions in their operations.
With all of these laws in place, there are notable instances of mining companies violating both the local content policy and the mining act.
For instance, London Mining Company and African Minerals prefer to sub contract other international companies like HAWK, Bollore and DAWNUS in total contravention to the local content policy. African Minerals for instance ended up subcontracting all its contracts to the international company called DAWNUS.
It is unfortunate that these acts of impunity are thriving in a country like Sierra Leone that can boost of competent and credible local companies to execute such contracts. With this reality, there is no excuse for these mining companies to keep awarding major contracts to international companies when we have the local institutions and individuals to implement such contracts.
Contracting Sierra Leonean companies and individuals is even at the advantage of the international investors as I bet they will pay far less to hire Sierra Leonean companies than international companies to execute these same contracts.
So the act of these companies to contract international companies at the disadvantage of competent local companies is just plainly disingenuous, wicked and total disregard for national laws.
Surprisingly, AML which used to be better in terms of supporting local content have completely changed in the past year as they have been dishing out contracts to 100% international companies especially DAWNUS which has cleared every little construction contract at AML at the expense of competent local construction companies who by far has better capacity than DAWNUS.
Allegations are rife that the logistics department of AML in London has a long time deal with these so called international companies, thus will never allow any competent local company into AML especially in the construction field.
The worst can be said about London Mining in this light.
Now that the Timis Corporation (which incorporated AML) is taking over London Mining company operations, the general populace is expecting a reverse of the impunity trend in these companies. While the AML is expected to return to its past laudable record of contracting local companies, the new London Mining is expected to follow suit. It is expected that the new LMC management will prioritize the award of contracts to competent and credible Sierra Leonean companies, to avoid operational disturbances and continued flouting of national laws.
As the government seemed to be doing nothing from the outside, two senior government functionaries in the Mines Ministry and House of Parliament respectively have disclosed plans to summon these mining companies, especially AML and London Mining to vet their adherences to the local content policy and force them to comply.
The citizens are calling on the government to look into this and force AML and London Mining to adhere to the local content policy.
By Christiane Koroma
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