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Ebola Shocks Sierra Leone Economy NMA Boss Reveals

Ebola Shocks Sierra Leone Economy NMA Boss Reveals

The Director-General of the National Mining Agency (NMA), Sahr Wonday, has disclosed that the Ebola epidemic has shocked the Sierra Leone economy as it has adversely affected the operations of some mining companies.

He made the disclosure on Tuesday, 7th July, 2015, while presenting to members of the Parliamentary Committee on Mineral Resources a status report on mining operations in the country.

Mr. Wonday told the committee that before Ebola, two iron ore companies were in full operation until the third quarter when their operations subsided due to the Ebola outbreak, noting that one of the companies, London Mining, sold its assets while the other company, Africa Minerals, had its trading on stock market suspended in November, 2014.

The NMA Director-General noted that such news was not good for the economic development of this nation, pointing out that that the country was generating about one billion US Dollars from mineral export but that the figure has dropped dramatically due to the Ebola outbreak. He informed the committee that 77 % of the mineral revenue was generated from iron ore.

According to the DG, AML principal shareholders included the Tonkolili mines and Sierra Mineral Africa Rails, stressing that AM owns 75% while Shandong has 25%. He continue by saying that Shandong has invested 1.2 billion dollars and that the company has acquired 100% shares of the Iron Ore mines. Wonday also disclosed that six hundred million US Dollars was put aside for the second phase and that official launching of Shandong was done by President Koroma.

The DG also gave an update on other mining companies including Octea, Sierra Rutile and Sierra Minerals noting that 43 mining companies were issued with exploration licenses, furthering that Altop Mining Company is not any how engaged in mining activity but was actively engaged in exploration.

The Chairman of the committee, Hon. Amadu Kanu thanked the DG for briefing the committee on the status report, stating that since 16th April 2015, Shandong has taken over the iron ore mining operation. He said that the expectation from the people is so high more so when a policy statement is made as people will be interested in knowing what is happening.

Hon. Kanu noted that the concern of the committee is not just profit but to ensure that work goes on at the mining sites, stressing that they are not going to wait for the new price to be determined by the World Bank. Shandong he said wants to do business with old players.

By Kai Kargbo    

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