Sierra Leone mining industry innovator, Seawright Mining Company (SMC) has for the third time paid the sum of eighty thousand US Dollars ($ USD 80,000) which is equivalent to one billion, eight hundred and five thousand, three hundred and ninety-one Leones as surface rent to Gbense, Tankoro and Kamara Chiefdoms, Kono District.

The payment was made over the weekend at the Native Administrative Barry, Gbense Chiefdom, where Seawright Mining Company Community and Cooperate Affairs Manager (CCAM), Alie Lamin presented the cheques to the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources who in turn presented the cheques to the Chiefs in the presence of stakeholders, Office of National Security (ONS), youth representatives, civil society, women representatives, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources and National Minerals Agency (NMA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Press, among others.

According to SMC CCAM, Alie Lamin, the payment was for SMC Boroma Concession on which the Company is undertaking large-scale diamond mining in Gbense Chiefdom which hosts 80% of the concession with a slight concession spilling to Tankoro and Kamara Chiefdoms in the Eastern Region of Kono.

He spoke about the company’s good relationship with the people, which he said, they are very pleased with.

According to Lamin by law, mining companies with large-scale concessions should pay surface rent.

He explained that at the time they prepared the payment they used the current Bank of Sierra Leone exchange rates for the three chiefdoms.

The surface rent payment is $ 80,000. 00 (Eighty thousand US Dollars) paid in Leones equivalent: Gbense Chiefdom got 80% $ 64,000.00 while Tankoro Chiefdom got 10% $ 8,000.00 and Kamara Chiefdom got 10% $ 8,000.00.

Following the surface rent laws of NMA, the payment was divided into 5 portions for the three chiefdoms:

For Gbense Chiefdom, Land Owners, Tankoro Chiefdom Administration received 50% which is $ 4,000.00, Paramount Chief, received 15% which is $ 1,200.00, City Council, Koidu New Sembehun City Council received 15% which is $ 1,200.00, for Mining Revenue; Chiefdom Administration, Tankoro Chiefdom Administration received 10% which is $ 800.00 and 10% which is $800.00 for Constituency Development Fund for Koidu Town was put on hold for the next Parliament.

In his keynote address, Emanuel Sandy, Deputy Permanent Secretary explained the two roles to pay as Ministry, the community and to protect the investment of the company.

He said 50% is going to land owing families and encouraged them to put their money into good use, noting that after mining would have ended they will have something to point at.

“Even when mining is here, people are still asking for jobs. We are encouraging the mining companies to empower the community people. Which the companies are doing,” he said.

He said they advised SMC to hold on to the Constituency Development Fund until they get new MPs.  He also said they have requested a report of the last Constituency Development Fund money but that they are yet to get it. 

“We are still asking for the report from Council and the MPs,” he said.

Chief Aiah M. Kamanda of Gbason Chiefdom said they are pleased with the company and also called on the company to improve on the agreement they signed as they are friends.

Statements were made by NMA Deputy Director, EPA, ONS, ACC, CSO and Youth Group.

By Bah

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