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Parliamentary Mines Committee visits Kono

The Chairman of the Mines and Minerals Committee in Parliament Chernor Maju Bah has said that his committee is currently visiting Kono District to investigate all mining activities to ensure the adherence of the reviewed mines and minerals Act, 2009.
“We are visiting Kono to talk and listen to miners, civil society groups and the affected communities for parliamentary consideration during our deliberations in the committee for prompt action” Chernor Bah said Cecilia Mattia of the National Advocacy Coalition on Extractives (NACE) expressed gratitude to their partners for making it possible for the oversight visit and further spoke about the aims and objectives of NACE in ensuring transparency and accountability in mining operations with benefits for both the company and people living in the mining communities.
She said “civil society groups are not against mining companies” but that they want to see developments for the people and stake holders should also engage the ordinary people on the ground to know their views and comments.”
The Mines and Minerals Committee in the house of parliament in collaboration with the National Advocacy Coalition on Extractives (NACE) is currently on a four day oversight visit to Kono District to investigate the operations of mining companies on the adherence of the new mines and minerals Act.
The delegation was taken on a conducted tour of the Ministry of Mines in Kono where they were given an overview of the current mining activities within the District. However it was revealed that Mines Monitoring officers lack the capacity to monitor mining activities.
The Acting Engineer of the Ministry of Mines John P. Koroma also could not disclose to the delegation the number of licenses issued during the year. Records were also not available on revenues generated by the Mines Ministry in Kono.
At Koidu Holdings the delegation was taken on a conducted tour of the company operations site by the Operations Support Manager of Koidu Holdings Kimberlite Project in Sierra Leone Gert van Westhuizen who explained to the delegation about the current status of the company.
He said the company has not commenced full capacity operations yet due to resettlement problems but noted that several houses have been constructed for the affected property owners according to the agreement which state that Koidu Holding should construct 12 houses monthly. The Operations Manager also said that the company is currently planning to undertake underground mining further in to Pit 2 of the 50 acres of leased land owned by Koidu Holdings for a period of 25yrs.
The delegation also visited Obtala Mining Company a subsidiary of (SLDC) to investigate their operations. The Logistic Manager of the company Mawern Young told the delegation that the company is mining both Gold and Diamond to be exported and sold locally. He said Obtala Mining Company is closely working with the community and that they also have 30% share of net profits. However the delegation was not able to access the offices of Universal Mining Company on their operations in Kono.
By Saidu Bah in Kono

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