The Development Secretary for the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) Peter N. Sam-Kpakra has engaged the F. G. Gold Mining Limited on the Resettlement Action Plan.

The engagement was in line with The National Development Induced Resettlement Bill that was passed in Parliament.

The team recently familiarized themselves with F.G Gold Limited, a mining company situated in the Valunia and Kunike Barina Chiefdoms in the Bo and Tonkolili Districts, respectively.

The tour was conducted at engage F.G. Gold Limited, also known as the Baomahun Gold Project, regarding the recently approved bill in Parliament. The purpose was to solicit views from stakeholders in the project-affected communities and assess the level of compliance with resettlement issues in preparation for the implementation of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) in Baomahun and other communities where they operate.

A site induction was conducted, which included a presentation of their operations and their level of interaction with the communities. Compliance with the statutory pricing of compensation was also addressed.

During this session, several questions were raised concerning mining waste management, fair compensation for land, structures, and produce, community collaboration, river water pollution, and recruitment matters.

Peter N. Sam-Kpakra, the Development Secretary at MoPED, began by expressing his gratitude to the stakeholders present for their cooperation with the project. He mentioned that prior to this, there was no resettlement policy guiding compensation arrangements with affected communities.

He emphasized the long absence of a Resettlement Action Plan (RAP), which allowed other mining companies to deprive communities of their rightful compensation.

Sam-Kpakra further expressed satisfaction with the initial interventions made by F.G. Gold in adhering to the process and procedures for addressing resettlement issues in the operational areas.

He highlighted the grading of the roads connecting Matotoca to Baomahun as an impressive move by the company.

Development Secretary informed the meeting about the government’s commitment to addressing the socio-economic livelihoods of mining communities through the enactment of the Development Induced Resettlement Act.

He also mentioned the establishment of a department and secretariat hosted at MoPED, which is responsible for ensuring fair compensation in accordance with the law as he assured residents of the government’s unwavering commitment to addressing resettlement issues and stated that he is always available to address community concerns arising during the project implementation.

Issa M’briwa, Senior Planning Officer, who also serves as the coordinator for the Development Induced Resettlement program at MoPED, thanked the community stakeholders and F.G. Gold for their attendance at the well-attended meeting. He discussed the provisions in the Bill, noting that it aims to specify all resettlement arrangements and measures to avoid, minimize, or compensate for losses or other negative social impacts resulting from resettlement.

Mr. M’briwa stated that the approved bill establishes the basis for compensation arrangements with affected parties and describes the collaborative arrangements with project-affected individuals.

He urged the company to consistently comply with the Act, especially during its full implementation, and emphasized the importance of considering the various phases involved in the resettlement process.

Evelyn Giamfi-Hassan, the Community Relations Manager, expressed gratitude on behalf of F.G. Gold to the ministry and the community.

She affirmed that their company is committed to complying with the country’s existing laws on compensation and will fully adhere to the recently enacted Development Induced Resettlement Act once it is fully operational.

She mentioned that they have already developed a Resettlement Action Plan in alignment with Sierra Leone legislation and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) performance standard.

Furthermore, a committee will be established to oversee its implementation.

Giamfi-Hassan stated that F.G. Gold enjoys working with their five operational communities: Baomahun, Pujehun, Kavoma, Moyorgbor, and Njaguima.

She emphasized F.G. Gold’s genuine commitment to ensuring the highest level of health and safety for all onsite employees, contractors, as well as the neighboring communities and visitors.

She called for the ministry’s full support in coordinating linkages with other governing structures, especially the Councils. She also expressed their strong commitment to the District Development Coordination Committee (DDCC) platform.

Joseph Kowa, Town Chief of Baomahun, welcomed and appreciated the team from MoPED. He enthusiastically recognized F.G. Gold for the tremendous work they have done in their communities.

He commended them for their strong compliance in terms of promptly paying compensations, stating that the community is very pleased with F.G. Gold. He added that the company is exceptional compared to others that have operated within their communities.

A site tour was conducted in all five operational communities, during which several questions regarding community safety, water and air pollution, among other topics, were raised.

Present at the site induction and visit were Pieter Viser – HSE Manager, Rian Van DER Walt – Operational Readiness Director, Joshua Andrew – Project Controls, Ardy Charles Njie – Management Trainee – Finance, Mohamed Shekuba Kamara – Engineer – NMA Rep, Evelyn Giamfi-Hassan – Community Relations Manager, Abu N. Smart – Community Relations Administrator, and Laura Garcia – HEC consultant, as was reported by Alfred Kabia- Senior Communications Officer-MoPED.