Sierra Mineral Holdings on the 29th March 2019 paid surface rent to four chiefdoms at the CDC Complex, Mosenesie Junction Lower Banta Chiefdom Moyamba District.
Over one billion three hundred million Leones was paid to land owners and the community. The payment comes as compensation for the lands utilized by the company to undertake their mining activities.
These farmers whose lands have been utilized due to the mining activities are however eager to receive the monies which according to some will help educate their children and meet some of their essential needs.
Speaking on behalf of the community, Paramount Chief PC Melrose Foster Gberie of Kpandakemoh Chiefdom, Bonthe District thanked the National Minerals Agency for their involvement in the payment of the surface rent. She said they together with Vimetco have made the process more transparent but cautioned the community people to stop derailing the progress of the companies by halting their operations whenever they are aggrieved.
She highlighted the numerous development Vimetco is undertaking at the moment in communities which include construction of multipurpose center, schools, teachers’ quarters, water wells etc.
Martin Jimmy Deputy Secretary Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources noted that the Mines and Minerals Act of 2019 states how monies should be distributed, received and the amount to be given to each community. He encouraged the people to set up projects as a team which will in turn benefit their children in the community.
Acting General Manager SMHL, Vimetco Basudeb Datta thanked land owners for their patience as the surface rent was a bit delayed this year. He noted that because of the cooperation SMHL is receiving in communities, the company is doing very well in the market. He highlighted SMHL’s expansion project which involves the construction of additional two washing plant which means they will increase in the amount paid every year. He said for the past ten years they have been paying surface rent and will continue to do that for as long as they are in the communities. He however emphasized the need for the people to invest in the education of their children. So that they would be able to secure jobs in the company.