The Leone Rock Metal Group (LRMG), on Thursday, March 30th 2023, officially handed over the total sum of  20.3 billion Leones (Le 20.3 Billion) as Community Development Agreement (CDA) fund to primary host communities within their concessional areas in the Tonkolili District, Northern Province of Sierra Leone.

The cheque was presented by H.E President Julius Maada Bio to the local authorities at a well-attended ceremony held at the EBK University in Magburaka, Tonkolili district.

The handing over ceremony attracted  hosts of government and non-government officials including, the President and First Lady of Sierra Leone, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, LRMG/Kingho Energy Group President, LRMG CEO, Opposition Leaders, Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Sitting Members of Parliament, Primary Host Community Heads, Dignitaries from various Ministries, stakeholders & staff of LRMG among many others. The event was occasioned by  performances from the company’s brand Ambassador, Star Zero as well as performances from other traditional mass groups.

The Community Development  Agreement (CDA) comes to existence as a result of a provision in the Mines & Minerals Act, 2009 and as revised in the Mines & Minerals Development Act, 2022.

Kingho Mining Company is actively concerned about the socio-economic life of its primary Host Communities (PHC) and deems it prudent that the company accelerate  the implementation of the CDA & other Community interventions such as CDAP & CSR. Kingho’s Community Development strategies showcase its positive intentions in rolling out the  development  projects needed in mining affected communities within its concession inTonkolili District.

Leone Rock Metal Group is the first mining company to pay for the second time 1% of its total income to the community development fund for its operational communities. The CDA by the old regulation, was 0.01% of the revenue of large-scale mining company. However, Leone Rock Metal Group paid 1% even before the revised law is assented by HE the President, so that communities will carry out more developmental activities.

This year, this year, the company paid over Le 20 Billion as CDA, four times last year’s amount which upwards  of Le 5 Billion Leones.

The CDA Fund payment was made by President Bio at the Magburaka Field and the event attracted the presence of Government Ministers, Parliamentarians & other dignitaries where stakeholders from the three iron ore mining chiefdoms of Dansogoia, Sambaia and Simiria converged to receive their money from the company’s management.

LRMG’s timely payment of the CDA fund to its primary host communities in Tonkolili is a positive step towards sponsoring accountable practices in the mining sector and promoting sustainable community development in Sierra Leone.

In a welcome address to all present, Paramount Chief Baimba Foray Musa Bendugu of Sambiaya Bendugu expressed appreciation for the increment of the CDA fund to 1% which amount to over Le 20 Billion, which he said happened under President Bio’s tenure in governance. He said prior to President Bio’s leadership there was no good relationship between the mining companies and the various communities.

He said Leone RocK Metal Group has done an increasingly  amazing job in contributing to community development projects and as such kudus should be given to them. He added that the relocated communities are currently benefiting hugely from LRMG with the provision of basic amenities and security.

He warmly welcomed President Bio and his entourage and craved the indulgence of the president to continue to provide the enabling environment for the company to operate freely.

Officially handing over the CDA fund, President Bio said that as President, he believe that mining communities should benefit significantly from mining in their areas. He said for ten years of mining in the Tonkolili District, there is no direct community development agreements negotiated before before 2018, but his government belive in making sure that all payment go directly to the communities.

He commended Leone Rock Metal Group for maintaining it commitment to pay 1% of revenue as investment in local sustainable livelihood and community development projects. “As I indicated, the CDA will not only support the economic viability and resilience of this community, mining will leave a positive footprint in these communities and that  this is the second time he’s handing over such huge amount of money and that the payment is done on time” he said.

He mentioned Leone Rock Metal Group is certainly the most noteworthy amongst many others, their investment plan is commendable and the company has demonstrated what is expected by the people of Sierra Leone and that with their  continued contributions to the improvement of the standard and cost of living in these communities.

 “The relationship between LRMG Mining Company and its Primary host communities is truly unmatched and I am very pleased about their development strides as it aligns with my vision of validating and normalizing how mining communities can significantly benefit from mining activities in their areas. 

He noted that the CDAP payment will generate solutions to the many problems that residents in these communities are faced thereby creating a win-win situation for all sides.

The President  of L RMG, Mr. Colin Ding appreciated all present for gracing such a historic event and thanked the people of Tonkolili for creating a formidable platform for carrying out the company’s operations, accumulating that KMC will continue to compliment the government’s vision towards development strides in Tonkolili District and create a good working relationship. He also assured the people of Tonkolili of the company’s commitments to continue building socio-economic relationship in pursuit of their interests to promote sustainable development.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of Leone Rock Metal Group, Gilbert Zhao said it is a great honor to not only be part of the historic moment but also expressed his fulfillment to give to the people of these mining communities what they truly deserve.

The Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Timothy Kabba, thanked LRMG for the development strides towards their primary host communities in which they operate, noting that the payment is reflective of the President’s “New Direction” priorities which is aimed at optimising benefits for all local stakeholders. Mr Kabbah further stressed that the mines and minerals act has been reviewed and will ensure that all legal and policy regulations will be enforced effectively. He expressed hope that the CDA payment and the five years plan will be implemented soonest as it will address most of the gaps in the mining sector and create a legacy for other mining companies to emulate”.

Representing the Paramount chiefs and other local stakeholders, Hon PC Musa Jalloh of Sambaia Chiefdom thanked the government and the company for the laudable venture describing the move as a step in the right direction, adding that the CDA fund will generate solutions to the many problems the communities are faced with and referenced the many projects the community has successfully completed with the previous payment. He then assured the company and the government that the beneficiaries will make better use of the CDA funds.

This historic ceremony was climaxed by the symbolic handing over of the cheque to the host communities by HE the President amidst fanfare & excitement.