By Foday Moriba Conteh
The Director General of the National Minerals Agency (NMA), Julius Daniel Mattai, has assured the general public that by the end of this year the mining sector is poised to provide over 16, 000 jobs for Sierra Leoneans. He made this disclosure during the Ministry of Information and Communications weekly press briefing on Thursday 30th January 2020 at Youyi Building in Freetown.
In his address, the Director General National Mineral Agency (NMA) disclosed that for the past years the country had not been benefiting from the country mineral resources adding that it is against such a backdrop that the Ministry of Mines decided to revisit some Mining License Agreements in order for the country to start benefiting from the wealth of its minerals.
He noted that National Mineral Agency with support from partners has conducted a Nationwide Airborne Geophysical Survey geared towards providing the country with reliable geo-data, which will help determine the mineralization of Sierra Leone in the most comprehensive way ever and put the country on sound footing to bargain from a position of strength with potential investors, and hence, optimize the benefits of exploration and exploitation of our mineral wealth.
He further disclosed that currently they are registering mining companies and that by the end of this year the mining sector will provide over 16,000 jobs for Sierra Leoneans.
In his statement the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Hon. Foday Rado Yokie, disclosed that a social media post in circulation stating that “SL Government lost the case against Shandong and Sierra Mining companies in an international tribunal and were therefore fined $800 million is totally false and misleading, adding that the Government will continue to defend the people of Sierra Leone in a transparent, open and rule of law-based system they deserve.
He assured all Sierra Leoneans, the International Community that there is no final judgment against the Republic of Sierra Leone in any international tribunal or court and therefore appealed to members of the public to respect the legal process and refrain from publishing news that are untrue and adverse to the interest of the State.
He said when he took up his appointment, he vowed to review all mining contracts in the country and assured the people of Sierra Leone, whom he said have endured protracted suffering for too long that under his watch mining activities would be safeguarded and ultimately revamped to be very beneficial to all Sierra Leoneans. He noted that they are not scaring investors away but they are only revisiting some Mining Licenses Agreements, which in his view the people of Sierra Leone are not benefiting from as expected.
“I need to change that narrative by renegotiating a better deal for the people of Sierra Leone, as it is a sacred obligation owed to the people of Sierra Leone,” the Minister underscored.