Mines Parliamentarians Mediate Valunia, Algom Mining

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Following a misunderstanding between the stakeholders of Valunia chiefdom and Algom Resource Limited, a potential mining company for the Baomahun gold desposite, the Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Minerals, chaired by Hon Saa Emerson Lamina has held a town hall peace accord at Baomahun town in the Bo district.

Explaining the purpose of the oversight meeting, the Chairman recalled how mining communities had suffered, because of bad laws and went on to assured that, they are reviewing the Mines and Minerals Act in order to ensure due diligence for the people to benefit, the investors to make profit and the country to develop. He also informed that the new law would engender immense benefit for mining communities.

Hon Lamina said peace and serenity were eminent in any mining community, whilst assuring the people and the company of government support in light of seeking their interest as well as creating conducive environment for miner.

The Chairman emphasized on the for peace and serenity and assured of them of presenting the report of the meeting at the plenary Country Manager of Algom Resources, Ansu Katta, while giving a brief background of their Operations informed that they had misunderstanding with the people during the course of their exploration and following proper procedure in order to develop a competent and sustainable mining operations.

“When we took over, we were busy drilling and reloging to understand the deposits of the gold content” he maintained and went on to say that, after all their research and exploration, they were not allow to launch a Public Disclourse and Community Development Action Plan that contained all the goodies.

He said suspicions, apprehension and agitation by the people in light of serious allegations warranted the authority to take the aforesaid decision regarding the discontinuation. He reassured the stakeholders of strong relationship and huge benefit.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Algom, Madam Angela Links apologized to the stakeholders for the gap in communication which caused misunderstanding and assured their commitment, in light of payment of huge surface rent, community development and job creation. “What the previous company used to give to you as surface rent was very inadequate, but we intend to pay you in billions” she affirmed and added “I can understand that the frustration and problem were caused by lack of communication”.

Councilor Lansana Kaikai expressed the concerns of the people and also appealed to them to adhere to the peaceful negotiation, in order to allow Algom to operate. Also delivering his statement, the Section Chief of Baomahun, Musa Nabby pleaded with the committee to do due diligence in solving the problem. Landowners representative Karimu Lahai said they must benefit from their natural resources and also recalled all that transpired between the company and the stakeholders including allegations and counter allegations.

The Paramount Chief, Dr. Madam Margret C. Baio-Gbanie said they were ready to accommodate frank and honest discussion, whilst vehemently stating that she would always seek the interest of her people. She explained all what she encountered with the company and accusations from the people. The Paramount Chief also informed that, the real people who matter were not dealt with and used the opportunity to ask the committee to pacify the situation.

Host community Member of Parliament, Hon Joseph Bash Kamara said the government need sincere investors and want Algom to know that he loves and have his people’s interest.

He explained his ordeal, saying that he controlled many damages between the stakeholders and the miner.

“My people’s interest is my primary interest” he stated and said that he would stand by his people on whatever decision they take with regards the mining negotiation. He however said that losing one company would take a time to get another that would start operations all over.

Adviser to the Landowning family, Sheku Nabieu said they would always stand for their people. He narrated the impasse and also advised his people to abide by the peace accord and added that let their apology be granted.

On behalf of the women, IyeShaka also appealed to the landowners to accept. Other Members of Parliament including Hon Dr. Mark Mahmoud Kaloko, Hon Alex Rogers, Hon Musa Fofana and Hon Musa Moigua added their voices to the mediation.