The Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Mineral Resources in Sierra Leone’s House of Parliament has assured the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Timothy Kabba, that the Committee will always support the Mines Ministry in doing what is right for the country.

Speaking during an inquiry held by the Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Mineral Resources, the Chairman of the Committee- Hon. Emerson Lamina, after the signing of a Lease Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and Arise Integrated Industrial Platforms Ltd., said it may be to develop, expand, and manage the rail and port infrastructure in the Tonkolili District, Northern Sierra Leone.

“Such an agreement will stand to contribute immensely to the economy, especially to the education sector commitments of the President, which receives 22% of the country’s budget,” he added.

The Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Timothy Kabba said that the broader vision of the government is not to holdback any individual in the mining sector but to enable all other miners to have positive competitive opportunity in the sector.

He said that, “We have to think big, we have to make difficult decisions.”

While recalling the opportunity missed by Sierra Leone in the mining sector in 1972 when the country had inherited and nationalized the National Diamond Mining Corporation (NDMC), he said similar decisions were to be made which was not done due to  poor understanding of the financial, technical and labor implications.

Giving out the challenges, the Minister said that, “In 2021, there could have been no better opportunity for us. The Mines and Mineral Act this House graciously enacted was influenced by many interest. Whether it was government, ministries, agencies and departments. Even our development partners had immense interest in the Mines and Minerals Act.”

He said that he always feels discouraged whenever people say Sierra Leone cannot show anything for all of the minerals it has when the royalty from bulk minerals is 3%. 

“But these contents of our actions are actually dictated by this very many interests, “and sometimes our development partners, so we do not have the liberty and latitude to have big shares in our mineral resources,” he said.

The Minister added that, giving the rail and port to an independent operator who is not a mining company will promote transparency and also increase export volume.

He furthered that, the rail and port belong to the people of Sierra Leone, adding that there is a need to maximize the benefits of the rail and port by providing access to the many existing mines and potential mines in the corridor, to open the infrastructure to passenger carriage and also other non-mining commodities.

Speaking on the importance and the access which the government may have as an impact, he said that Cabinet has just signed a mining SPV that will be collecting critical assets that are not owned by any mining company but by the Government of Sierra Leone.

’All these are happening because the country depends on handouts and cannot make critical decisions and stand by them’’. The Minister concluded.