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NMJD Disappointed at Vimetco, Other Mining Companies

NMJD Disappointed at Vimetco, Other Mining Companies

A Civil Society Organization [CSO], Network Movement for Justice and Democracy [NMJD] was disappointed at Vimetco and other mining companies for failing to grace an interface meeting between mining companies and Community Development Committees [CDC] for the development of a Memorandum Of Understanding [MOU].

Speaking at the meeting held at GEM on John Street in Freetown last Friday with support from Oxfam UK, Head of Program, National Resource Rights of Governance Project, NMJD, John Momo reiterated that the meeting aimed at bringing together CDC and mining companies to share successes, challenges and give out information to the public.

He said the absence of Vimetco and other important mining companies into what participants described as a progressive meeting, means NMJD should go back to the drawing board and continue engaging targeted stakeholders to treat the program with all the seriousness it deserves.

He spoke about citizens’ rights to interface with company to ask them necessary questions and mentioned the difficulties involved to get the cooperation of the National Mineral Agency [NMA] which he said, responsible to regulate and monitor the sector. He encouraged mining companies to increase transparency and accountability and described natural resources as a human rights issue. He discussed that Vimetco is a Bauxite mining entity based at Moyamba while he said Sierra Rutile depends on Rutile mining at Bonthe and Moyamba Districts.

However, Mr. Momo lauded the Koidu Holdings Diamond Mining Company and Sierra Rutile for sending representatives into the meeting.

Speaking on behalf of CDC in Koidu, John S. Essien expressed gratitude to NMJD for imparting knowledge in them on why and how to sign MOU for community development and promise to disseminate what he has learnt for Koidu Holdings to work in the interest of the supposed beneficiaries in Kono District.

He said the deliberate absence of certain mining entities into the engagement have deprived community members in their areas of operation.

In her statement, Secretary to the CD, Rutile, Augusta Nuwomeh maintained that they feel weak and disappointed over their absentness into the conference adding, an action she described as a demonstration of lack of respect for land owners. ‘’Miners should always respond to the call of landowner’’, he said.

It was raised that the lack of access to visit mining sites by media practitioners has prevented them from playing their biggest role to educate the public to understand issues surrounding mining communities. It was also discussed that media practitioners should be given the opportunity to attend CDC meetings and monitor projects they are implementing.

By Abdulai Mento Kamara

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