NMA Board & Management Assess Bauxite, Rutile And Diamond Mining Companies In Moyamba And Kenema

By Amin Kef Sesay

The Chairman, Board of Directors and Senior Management of the National Minerals Agency (NMA) from the 24th to the 26th February 2022 paid visits to mining sites of Sierra Mineral Holdings 1 Limited (SMHL), Sierra Rutile Limited (SRL) and Sierra Diamonds Limited (SDL) which, as understood, was part of ongoing visits to mining companies to monitor their operations and discuss future plans.

During the visits the Board and Management endeavored to get first-hand information about their operations, inspect and assess their facilities and discuss the opportunities and successes, as well as future plans, in the interest of national development.

At SMHL mine site, the General Manager, Basudeb Datta, disclosed that the company is committed to improving and enhancing production levels to contribute more to national development. He continued that to that end the company is exploring to increase the mineral resource and area size, and will invest to expand loading capacity.

He informed the delegation that they were fully compliant with all their financial and statutory obligations and making meaningful contributions to develop the communities where they operate.

At Sierra Rutile Limited mining site, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iluka Resources, the Management informed NMA that the company is on track to sustain and even increase current production levels. The Chief Executive Officer, Theuns De Bruyn informed the delegation that they are currently producing 12,000 tonnes of high grade Rutile monthly, and that the company currently employs over 3,000 Sierra Leoneans. He spoke of their commitment towards transferring skills and empowering Sierra Leoneans in all areas within the operation.

Theuns De Bruyn informed the team that SRL lost USD 12. 8 Million worth of properties during a recent fire incident that occurred on the 19th February 2022, which affected the mining warehouse at the Plant Site in Mobimbi within the Bonthe District.

It was revealed the facility was storing some of the most critical components needed for the operation of the mine, including spare parts for machines and heavy vehicles. He reassured the delegation that they are moving on with their operations despite the fire incident, and that they have mounted an investigation into the cause and extent of the fire outbreak.

The Director of Community Affairs, Osman Lahai, stated that they have a very good relationship with the community, and that every year they pay 100 thousand United State dollars to the Community Development Committee for the implementation of community projects.

At SDL mining site, the Chief Executive Officer, Karl Nicholas Smith gave a detailed presentation on the mine design and progress with mine development. He explained that the company had invested a total of USD 79 million from exploration stage to mine development. He took the team through the status of the underground development, and assured the team that they were committed to health and safety at every stage, pointing out that they have consistently reduced their lost time and injury frequency rate since May 2018. The delegation was taken on a conducted tour of the underground mine that was under development.

The Chairman of the NMA Board of Directors, Alhaji Hadji Dabo, expressed satisfaction with the updates from the mining companies and noted that, if the companies hit their targets, it would be good for the Sierra Leone economy and the sustainability of the projects. He assured them of the full support of the NMA and the Government.

Chairman Dabo expressed solidarity with Sierra Rutile Limited/Iluka on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone after the fire outbreak at their warehouse.

The NMA Director General, Julius Daniel Mattai, noted that Government and the three companies (SMH1L, SRL and SDL) had come a long way, and was pleased with their operations. He expressed hopes that the companies would operate profitably and generate the expected revenue for Government.

The visiting team included the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Alhaji Hadji Dabo; Board Director Mustapha Turay; Board Director Samuel Momoh, Board Director Nyake Amara, Deputy Secretary of Ministry of Mines, Emmanuel Sandi; NMA Director General, Julius Daniel Mattai; NMA Deputy Director General, Dr Kelvin Anderson; the Director of Mines, Peter Bangura; the Large Scale Mining Compliance Manager, Yusuf Suma; the Chief Geologist, Henry Deen; and the Communication Manager, Jariatu Samura.


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