Octea Mining geared for post-Ebola activities
Corporate mining remains a cornerstone of the country’s revenue earning drive in order to finance post-Ebola economic recovery activities and the longer term Agenda for Prosperity national development plan. (Photo: GM of Koidu Limited, Christo Swanepoel: Determined)
Proceeds from the mining industry will also gradually help reduce the government’s dependence on donor financing of the budget.
One major mining company helping the government to move in that direction is the kimberlite diamond miner, OCTEA.
OCTEA traces its origin in this country to over fourteen years ago when it began as Koidu Holdings operating in Koidu in Kono district. Since that time, the company has invested over three hundred million dollars in its mining operations in the country.
It recently obtained three mining licenses from the government. According to the GM, the company hopes to operate profitably in Sierra Leone for the next ten to fifteen years.
OCTEA is here to stay and contribute to the nation’s development. It clearly expressed its desire to stay in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis between early 2014 and late 2015.
During that period when many companies ceased operations, while OCTEA suspended its mining operations, it retained and kept on paying salary to its staff of about seven hundred workers. Additionally, it provided them with Ebola prevention materials and allowances.
Its cash flow from its Sierra Leone operations adversely affected by the Ebola outbreak, OCTEA had to seek additional sources of funding to continue its operations, and to service its debt with Standard Chartered Bank.
In December, having successfully secured this additional funding, OCTEA immediately paid all outstanding tax obligations of over one million dollars to the Government of Sierra Leone.
OCTEA has also paid outstanding dues to its host, the New Sembehun Council.
In its area of operation, OCTEA has adequately proved that it is not only here to make profits but to share it with the communities that support it.
In Koidu, it has at great cost resettled all the families whose properties were demolished to make way for its mining activities.
In the resettlement areas, the company has provided the resettled families with brand new houses in communities that have water, schools, community centers and other social amenities.
Recently, OCTEA built and furnished a state-of-the-art hospital to serve not only its workers but the entire Koidu community. The company also continues with its regular weekly schedule of grading and maintaining the roads within the local resettlement communities.
OCTEA not only provides bus services for school going children but also scores of scholarships annually to deserving pupils on the belief that educating the young is empowering them for the future.
To train the country’s future mining administrators, managers and engineers, OCTEA has an internship program for university students that enable them work in all the departments of the company in order to gain valuable hands-on knowledge and experience in all aspects of mining.
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