Sierra Leone: Mining Company Suspends Operation With US$2.5 Million Wasted-Tears Flow in Port Loko

Sierra Leone: Mining Company Suspends Operation With US$2.5 Million Wasted-Tears Flow in Port Loko

Residents of Port Loko district are reported to have wept bitterly after receiving shocking news from the Project Manager and Chief Geologist of the Port Loko Bauxite Project, Ebo Bakker that they are suspending operations in Sierra Leone as a result of the non-renewal of their exploration license.

The Port Loko Bauxite project is managed by Shankill Resources Limited, a registered Sierra Leonean company with an exploration license owned by Gonwana (Investment) SA.

Mohamed Turay now a redundant worker of Shankill Resources, expressed his displeasure at this ugly development and lamented that his hope to make a better living for him and his family has been dashed.

“This company has been very helpful to us. Today, if you see us riding a bicycle and living in a roofed house after ten years of war it is because Shankill Resources provided us with employment. This company did not only provide us with employment but it built a school at Rogbere for our children to get educated.

The decision by the government to withhold their license is not in our favour and Sierra Leone as a nation. This company, after working assiduously on the exploration, was expected to start mining shortly which would have benefited Sierra Leoneans,” Turay stated.

He noted that the decision by the government to give exclusive rights to the Chinese and the Sierra Leone Diamond Mining Company (SLDC) to determine the country’s mineral data is unfortunate.

“I see no justification as to why Gonwana SA’s license should not be renewed. The government said the company has not done much work, bla, bla. The two companies, Moydow Mines International and Gonwana SA are renowned and certified mining companies in the world .It would have been better that the government, according to law, serve them a warning letter rather than refuse them renewal immediately after the expiration of their one year exploration license,” he stated “Where is the prospect that we will get employment pretty soon? We have been taken aback as our own children will continue to languish in poverty whilst the children of those who took the decision will continue to live a better life,” he said.

When this medium contacted the Project Manager and Chief Geologist of the Port Loko Bauxite Project Ebo Bakker on why they have decided to discontinue their work, he replied: “I am in the country to layoff our staff because our license has not been renewed and we cannot continue to keep paying people for doing nothing. It is disappointing that the exploration license for our partner, Gonwana SA has not been renewed after four months. We have already lost four months of precious dry season. We have spent US$2.5m on this project and ensured its execution of the next and likely the last phase of the exploration programme.” He explained that the Port Loko bauxite is not an easy one, contrary to what some people might want to believe.

“Gonwana personel that worked for Sieromco and Jupiter and I who have worked on this project for the past two years know this. If it were an easy deposit, mining might have started a long time ago. Gonwana and Shankill had discussions with prospective partners to take the project to the next stage.” Ebo noted that all their efforts and expenses to develop the Port Loko bauxite into mining operation which would not only benefit them but families in Port Loko and Sierra Leone as a whole have been dashed.

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