‘We are not driving Investors Away’ -Sierra Leone Mines Minister

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    2014
    Hon. Foday Rado Yokie

    By Amin Kef Sesay – 9th August 2019

    Hon. Foday Rado Yokie, Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources has said that reports of “cancelations or suspensions of several mining licenses” by the local media and the London Financial Times and Reuters is simply fictitious.

    Hon. Yokie who was appointed minister on May 9, 2019 made the pronouncement during an interview with this medium on social media.

    It could be recalled that immediately after his appointment, Minister Yokie vowed to review all mining contracts in the country and assured the people of Sierra Leone, whom he said have endured protracted suffering that under his watch mining activities would be safeguarded and ultimately revamped so as to be beneficial to all Sierra Leoneans.

    Preceding his appointment, Minister Yokie represented Constituency 068 (Bo District) from 2007– 2017 in Sierra Leone Parliament where he served in many committees including Mines and Mineral Resources Oversight Committee.  He was also the Government of Sierra Leone Special Trade Envoy

    In the interview Hon. Yokie said he has cancelled Shandong Iron and Steel Group for not paying their dues to the government and people of Sierra Leone. We need serious investors and not ones that can hold onto our mineral wealth and starve us from our dues as a nation.  We inherited a challenging economy.  So we need every cent to make lives better for the people of Sierra Leone.   I have suspended exportation only but operations are ongoing with Sierra Leone Mining

    He added that Shandong’s cancelation took effect since June 4th 2019, but that one cancelation and one suspension to export while the Mining License Agreement is renegotiated and that the cancelations and suspension of several mining licenses and all other things reported in the news is fictional.

    Meanwhile, Shandong Iron and Steel, owner of the Tonkolili project is pursuing litigation in Sierra Leone’s High Court arguing that the licenses cancelations are invalid or illegal after paying all its fees and royalties.

    He denied that legal actions by Shandon are not to his knowledge

    Some economic observers say President Bio’s move to cancel mining licenses will impede foreign investors and investments that the country badly needs,

    To this Hon. Yokie said we are not scaring investors away but we are only revisiting some Mining Licenses Agreements.   In my view the people of Sierra Leone are not benefiting as expected from their mineral wealth.  So, we need to change that narrative by renegotiating a better deal for our people, that is our sacred obligation, we owe it to the people of Sierra Leone.

    On the issue of the Government Transition Team (GTT) 2018 which shows the previous APC administration signed two agreements with the management of Sierra Rutile Ltd., which also spoke of amends to the Sale and Purchase Agreement of Government Shares in the company, and that the report concludes that former President Koroma and his nephew John Sisay subsequently sold the government’s 30 shares, Hon. Rado maintained that Sierra Rutile is under investigation by the Commission of Inquiry (COI).  They will furnish the Government with their findings and recommendations.

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