Parliament on Wednesday 22 June 2022 debated and ratified a mining lease agreement for the development of Sierra Leone.
The Mining Lease Agreement (MLA) between the Government of Sierra Leone (GOSL) and Kingho Mining Company (SL) Limited was ratified by Parliament.
The Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Timothy Kabba presented the agreement before it was ratified. In his submission, he said the Government of Sierra Leone entered into an agreement with the company in 2020. He said in 2020, Kingho was given the opportunity to operate in Tonkolili and underscored that in January this year, President Bio constituted a negotiation committee, which precipitated the agreement for the interest of the State.
The agreement, the Minister argued, would serve the interest of the people and went on to state that the company is mining the lowest grade. According to him, the agreement would address the many challenges related to the Tonkolili iron ore and spoke about the company’s compliance with its Community Development Action Plan (CDAP) Fund and other related matters, which, he said, are also contained in the agreement.
He assured Parliament that the agreement would serve the intended purposes for the good and development of Sierra Leone.
In his submission to the debate, the Leader of C4C, Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Mines and Mineral Resources in Parliament said the agreement is in the interest of Sierra Leone, adding that, the success of the Minister cannot be underestimated, citing indicators.
He recalled successes relating to mining activities by the Minister, in light of the payment of one percent for CDAP by the company to the host community. Comparatively, the Chairman recalled the bad mining activities in the past and informed us that the current system had improved in that sector. He went on to heap lots of praises on the Minister, in light of good laws, and due diligence amongst others.
The Leader went on to commend the Minister for bringing such a mining agreement and called on his colleague MPs to ratify the agreement.
Hon. Dr. Mack-Mahmoud Kalokoh urged the Minister to clarify certain areas in the agreement relative to payment of National Social Security dues, cutting of trees, and detailed shipment of the minerals.
On his part, Hon. Edward George thanked the Minister for ratifying good mining agreements referencing his home district of Moyamba as one of the beneficiaries and used the opportunity to thank the Minister for creating a clause that protects the employment of locals.
He recalled bad memories when mining companies were employing foreigners in positions, where locals were competent as well. He appealed to the Minister to ensure the protection of compatriots.
Hon. Alex Rogers, while speaking on the basis of experience, said the agreement is not controversial and spoke about the environmental mitigation, in light of compliance and the contract renewal as well as free prior consent.
Hon. Sorieba Turay described the agreement as a “very fine document”, and went on to commend the Minister and Chairman of the Mines Committee. He also commended the company for honouring its Corporate Social Responsibility, for creating jobs, and for its plan to construct an iron ore melting plant in the country.
Rounding up the debate, Acting Leader of Opposition, Hon. Hassan Sesay recalled that they should have ratified the agreement long ago and informed that they want to approve a mining agreement that would benefit the people and Government of Sierra Leone. He said the document is not bad as it relates to the development aspirations of the country.
Concluding the debate, the Acting Leader of Government Business Hon. Bashiru Silikie advised the Minister to follow up on the implementation of the agreement and asked the Mines and Mineral Committee to do robust oversight.
Responding to concerns raised by MPs the Minister did so well and assured them of better considerations.
In another development, Parliament on the same date passed into law with some amendments the bill entitled, “The National Electronic Communication Act 2022”, after committing it to the Legislative Committee for further scrutiny.
The bill seeks to establish the National Communications Authority and to provide for the licensing and regulation of electronic communication operators and other related matters.
Earlier, the bill has been debated intensively by Members of Parliament, outlining its positive effects on the development of information and technology for the nation.
The Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Solomon Jamiru Esq. piloted the enactment of the said bill.