Minkailu Mansaray told the leadership of the company in a meeting that they had failed to comply with key provisions of their mining lease agreement, especially regarding resettlement, local content policy and training provisions.
He said he was not happy to learn that the company had constructed only 285 houses out of the 873 it was supposed to build for people whose lives continued to be adversely affected by the routine blasting exercises.
“I want to admonish you to do more to provide training for Sierra Leoneans so that they can be prepared to hold responsible positions in the company, as well as take advantage of future opportunities in other sectors”, he said, but expressed disappointment that there was no Sierra Leonean in senior management position in the company.
Minister Mansaray also took offence that 60 per cent of the fuel utilized by the company was supplied by a foreign company, while the locally owned National Petroleum supplied only 33 per cent.
“This is unacceptable at a time when the country is pushing strongly to implement local content. I therefore instruct you to submit all relevant documents relating to resettlement, local content policy, employment, contractors and suppliers and tax payments for proper scrutiny”, he said.
General Manager of Koidu Limited, Quinton Oliver, explained that the company had made significant investment into setting up the mine for underground production and that most of the primary machines had arrived with pending delivery of more.
According to the company’s website they were pursuing a US$150 million expansion project involving a five-year open pit mining phase of the two kimberlite pipes, now almost complete, adding that it would introduce a second underground mining operation in parallel to extract the kimberlite dykes and blows.