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African Minerals Holds Consultative Meeting With Stakeholders

African Minerals Holds Consultative Meeting With Stakeholders

African Minerals Limited (AML), the world’s largest iron ore and magnetite mining company has held a consultative meeting with stakeholders on the 17th May, 2010 at the magnificent Taia Resort Hotel along Lumley Beach in Freetown. The meeting which entails the presentation of activities undertaken by the African Minerals Limited (AML) on site showcasing their responsibilities toward land owners and the environment were systematically presented to stakeholders both high and lowly.

Government Ministers, parliamentarians, and paramount chiefs witnessed the presentation with active participation of questions and answers bothering the mining agreement  were put forward to be answered by AML executive members. The whole programme was an interactive one which saw the mining operations of the company and what the people of Sierra Leone are hoping to benefit from the Tonkolili Iron Ore Mining Project.

At the commencement of the programme, the chairman of this occasion Mr. Abdul Ignosi Koroma who also doubles as the deputy Minister of Mineral Resources intimated to the audience that the primary motive of the meeting was to highlight what Sierra Leoneans have and what we hope to achieve through the Tonkolili Iron Ore Project.

In making known to the people of this country what benefits this project would aim to achieve, the executives of AML categorically stated that the people of this country would surely benefit from employment generation both during construction and operation; large scale investment; Government revenues; the project’s wide training initiatives; community investment and development and in a whole contribution to local and regional development.

Presently, AML has employed 740 workers at both national and international level. Out of this figure, 640 workers are Sierra Leonean nationals. According to them, the project is aimed at the locals that are found in the area of mining, which will include skilled and unskilled workers. The AML executive pointed out that they will institute vocational training programme for long term occupation.

Nonetheless, in making their operations known to the people of Sierra Leone, the 10.5 Billion metric tonnes discovered will involve extraction of iron ore and be supported by associated infrastructures including a raw storage water facility, processing equipment, disposal of overburden and a tailings facility. Other additional arrangements include accommodation, camps and services and an airstrip. In terms of transportation, AML confirmed that a standard gauge heavy haul rail line will be built following a route close to the existing road network from Tonkolili to Makeni and through to Rogbere junction near Lunsarr. From there, it will follow the Pepel rail alignment to Lungi Lol. It will then branch off and run close to the Port Loko- Lungi road and down to Tagrin point.

Following these developments, a new deepwater port will be constructed to the West of Tagrin ferry terminal and a service port will be built to the east of Tagrin point. A range of material handling facilities will be established at the main port, including: stockpiles of ore, rail car dumper unloading and ship loading facility with jetty, docking berths and conveyors. In terms of Early Cash Flow (ECF) project, AML has signed a 99 year lease agreement with Government of Sierra Leone to construct, manage and operate Pepel Port and the Pepel Marampa Railway. A dedicated haul road (approximately 120 km in length) will be built from the mine site to a railhead near Lunsar and existing railway line refurbished between Marampa and Pepel. However, these work form what is referred to as the Early Cash Flow (ECF) project and also forms the first phase of the Tonkolili project as phase two, the magnetite project is built.

Finally, whilst this marathon presentation was going on, what has been one of the major concerns on the minds of stakeholders has to do with the environment. In terms of AML Environmental, Social, and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) project for Sierra Leone with regard the safety environmental control in line with Government requirement and international best practice; AML, as part of the process has commenced stakeholder identification and consultation. Several baseline surveys have commenced and a comprehensive range of surveys will be completed, prior to identifying potential effects and mitigation associated with the project. On completion of ESHIA, a statutory review period will be publicized during which stakeholders can comment. Once SLEPA is satisfied that the study has addressed project impacts adequately, a license will be issued.

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