ALGOM Resources Takes Sierra Leone Government to ECOWAS Court

ALGOM Resources Limited and its owner Angela D. List has officially filed in a law suit against the Government of Sierra Leone at the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for violation of the fundamental rights to fair treatment ad security of the law.

Awoko reports that they also filed for violation of the right to protection and security of the law as enshrined in Article 3(2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right, violation of fundamental right to property, including its intellectual property and proprietary information as recognised under the inherent jurisdiction of the ECOWAS Court. They filed a total of five counts against the government of Sierra Leone.

According to the narration of fact by the Applicants, ALGOM Resources was incorporated as a limited liability company in the Republic of Sierra Leone on 7th June 2016 under the name ‘Munafa Mining Company Limited’ but changed its name to Algom Resources Limited on 20th July 2016, and that Angela D. List is a Ghanaian business woman and the ultimate 100% beneficial owner of Algom Resources as well as its Chief Executive Officer.

It furthered that the 1st Applicant was granted an exploration licence for a period of four (4) years from January 2017 over the Boamahun exploration area, located in Valunia Chiefdom, Bo District, but the exploration works could not begin until after Ministerial inauguration on 22nd March 2017.

The Applicant after expending in excess of $4.8 million on exploration activities, the 1st Applicant established a finding of gold in commercial quantities in the exploration area, and in order to obtain a Large-Scale Mining Licence from the Defendant (the Government of Sierra Leone), the 1st Applicant needed to submit reports to the National Minerals Agency, proving the existence of gold ore in commercial quantities and also an Environmental Impact Assessment Licence (ElA Licence).

The NMA is required to submit a recommendation to the Minerals Advisory Board of the Defendant on whose advice the Minister of Mines and Natural Resources approves the award of the Mining Licence, while the EA Licence is administered by the EPA-SL which normally requires the submission of an Environmental Social and Health Impact Assessment Report (ESHIA Report) before the EIA licence is issued.

According to the Court file the EPA-SL wrongly determined that the Project was within a protected forest reserve and therefore clearance was required from the NPAA, but according to Algom Resources, the same Project was subject of previous exploration and mining licences and that in none of the previous projects was the issue of forest reserves raised or even if they were raised would have been dealt with and there was no need to have this as a further requirement for the 1st Applicant to meet.

“This additional requirement for clearance from the NPAA significantly delayed and frustrated the submission of the ElA report and the application for the Mining Licence” the Court file stated, adding that on the 1st of December 2018, the 1st Applicant retained the services of a company in the Republic of Sierra Leone called Integrated Geo-information and Environmental Management Services (INTEGEMS) to prepare the Environmental Social and Health Impact Assessment Report for the purposes of obtaining the ElA Licence in support of the two Applicant’s application to the NMA for the mining license (the ESHIA Report).

According to the Court file, the Applicants later discovered that the mining licence had been granted to a company name FG Gold Limited, which was only incorporated on 18 January 2021 and applied for the mining licence on 23rd March 2021 and was awarded the mining licence on 6th May 2021.

“Curiously, FG Gold managed to secure an ESHIA Report within a short time after its incorporation. In fact, FG Gold managed to obtain the ESHIA Report and EPA License by claiming to have applied to the EPA-SL under the company name Plateau Gold Limited which allegedly subsequently changed its name to FG Gold during the EPA license application process,” it maintained, disclosing that at all material times, it was Plateau Gold Limited which supposedly made the EPA-SL application and not FG Gold.

“This is because FG Gold was incorporated on 18th January 2021, and as such, the subsequent information by Plateau Gold Limited that it had changed its name was not possible because it could not have changed its name to that of a company that was already in existence” disclosing that the shareholders of Plateau and FG Gold are completely different and both entities are still in existence.

The Plaintiff argued that the EPA-SL could not have legitimately granted FG Gold the required EPA permit when it was clear that the two were two different companies.

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