Kingho Mining Pays 5.3 Billion Leones CDA Fund to Community Stakeholders

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By Foday Moriba Conteh

During a well-attended ceremony held on Tuesday 24th May, 2022 at Ferengbeya Mining Site, Tonkolili District His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio unveiled the Kingho Mining Company, Le5.3 Billion Community Development Agreement Fund, meant to support community development initiatives within the communities where the company is operating.

CDAs are required by law and involve the allocation of revenue from extractive activities to local communities. They are negotiated between extractive companies and host communities at the outset to reduce the risk of conflict later.

In his welcome statement, the Paramount Chief of Dansogoia Chiefdom, PC Alimamy Bockarie Yalan Koroma III, commended the company for the launch of the Community Development Agreement Fund which he described as a big move, adding that such an amount has been the highest any company has ever paid since the discovery of iron ore in Tonkolili in 2010.

He further noted that honour and dignity have been restored to his people and promised that they would continue to work and support the Government and Kingho Mining Company.

PC Alimamy Bockarie informed the President that it is the first time such an amount has been paid to the community and they want to thank him for providing caring leadership.

“On behalf of the people of this chiefdom, I want to welcome you and your entourage and thank you very much for everything you continue to do for your people and the country,” he concluded.

Addressing the gathering, the Chief Executive Officer of the Kingho Mining Company, Gilbert Zhao, said it was a great honour to work with the people of Tonkolili who were now getting what they truly deserve adding that the company would continue to look into the concerns of the people for a greater working relation.

Zhao further noted that because of the good working relationship between the Management and its workers there had never been any disruption of operations due to industrial actions, adding that even in the midst of the devastating effects of Coronavirus, Kingho was still in operations.

He stated that Kingho Mining Company is not only here for today or tomorrow maintaining that they want to be here to make Sierra Leone better, furthering that could be achieved with the support of the community people.

Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Timothy Kabba, said the occasion was historic as it would start a new era in the lives of the people of Tonkolili, adding that Kingho is the only company that had started to pay the 1% CDA to communities, as opposed to the 0.015% in the Mines and Minerals Act.

He further noted that there had been a lot of reforms in the sector and assured that his Ministry would continue to advocate for better conditions for mining communities in ways that even the environment would be protected for the future generation.

Launching the fund, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio said that his is pleased to formally launch the Community Development Agreement payment to local community stakeholders. He described the launching of the fund as part fulfillment of his vision of formalizing and regularizing how mining communities can substantially benefit from mining activities in their areas.

He pointed out that they have guaranteed not only that mining investments are secure and can be fully supported within a transparent regulatory regime, but that patient investors can also make profits and repatriate or reinvest their profits continuing that they are, therefore, most pleased to work with Leone Rock Metals, who, in spite of the financial shocks of the global COVID-19 pandemic, have made this major investment.
President Bio pointed out past Governments did not fully consider and plan for the eventual transition of mining communities from being mining-dependent to self-reliant post-mining communities.

“When mines shut down, jobs disappear, economic activities cease, and communities go into a downward spiral of poverty,” he pointed out.

He also emphasized that he believes stakeholders and decision-makers could do better for mining communities, adding that increasing community development agreement payments from 0.01% of annual revenue in the previous operation year to 1% during mining operations was in the best interests of mining communities.

“Mining communities should not hold begging bowls; they should be paid substantially more to invest in sustainable livelihood and community development projects that would sustain the economic viability and resilience of their communities. My Government has, therefore, proposed, for the first time in the history of this country, passing a law that increases CDA payments from a paltry 0.001% to 1% of revenues,” he said.

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