However, he maintained that some communities around the vicinity of the project site would have to be relocated, adding that an estimated 1,000 households across 56 communities in Tonkolili and Koinadugu Districts will be resettled to make way for the expansion of the Bumbuna Phase II project. He stated that about 2,500 people would be employed in this second phase project.
Speaking on the issue, the Environmental Social Health and Safety Manager for Seli Hydropower James Harding said houses, schools, farms and biodiversity will also be affected by the implementation of the Bumbuna phase II project, but that they have already consulted with all the affected communities and drawn up a resettlement plan which would be acceptable to all the affected parties.
Speaking at the final public consultations held at the British Council auditorium in Freetown, the Deputy Minister of Energy, Osmond Hanciles, said, “Millions of people are without access to energy in Sierra Leone and so the Bumbuna phase II will help address that gap.” He added that some development partners including the World Bank and EXIM Bank have committed to help the government achieve energy sufficiency to promote economic growth.
On his part, the Paramount Chief, Alimamy Koroma, said during the phase 1 of the Bumbuna project, residents were not consulted about the project, which lasted for over 30 years. He stressed that many issues were not addressed over the project and its negative effects on the people and on the environment and commended the Ministry of Energy for respecting their right to have a say in the matter.
Other speakers from the Ministry of Energy and its partners made similar sentiments.