Sierra Mineral Holdings 1 Limited, Vimetco in collaboration with the Community Development Committee (CDC), on Tuesday 15th May 2018 officially laid the foundation Stone of the construction of a multipurpose complex at Mosenesie Junction in Lower Banta Chiefdom in the Moyamba District. The ceremony attracted several traditional leaders, community elders, youths and women amidst a traditional and cultural performance as demonstration of their joy and happiness.
The project is being sponsored by Sierra Mineral Holdings Limited through CDC at the cost of One Billion Four Hundred Million Leones. Several residents including traditional leaders told our reporter that this is the biggest tangible project ever supported by a mining company in that area.
In his welcome address, Paramount Chief Jibao Russell Nyama II said Vimetco amongst other companies working in this district; always quickly respond to the calls of the community. “We are very proud of Vimetco in terms of meeting its Corporate Social Responsibility” he disclosed. He noted that the facility is meant for the five host mining chiefdoms and is being constructed at Mosenesie because of its strategic location to serve its intended purpose.
In his statement, the Civil Engineer of the Moyamba District Council, Mohamed Mohai Feika said the Complex will be a modernized building with 5 compartments and 3 units embedded with several facilities. He disclosed that the unit of the complex has a cinema with a mini shop, conference hall with the capacity to host 1000 people, four office spaces for CDC, Generator Room and special Boreholes powered by solar to provide potable water in the facility.
The Community Affairs Manager, Joseph Amadu said the ground breaking ceremony of such edifice is a milestone in the history of community development project supported by the company. The building he reiterated has the capacity to hold large number of people than any other within the Moyamba District. He noted that Vimetco is committed to bringing tangible development in their host communities. “We do not have a big hall in this community to assemble people and this is just the correct need of the residents” he noted. He went on to say, the project is in compliance with what the company is undertaking together with other corporate social responsibility activities.
Furthermore, he informed that Vimetco is a leading bauxite mining company that is committed to development and was the first company to sign a CDC agreement in 2017.
On behalf of the Civil Societies, Sylvester Bob Carter who also doubles as member of the Project Monitoring team said the project activities were overdue as according to him, stakeholders were overwhelmed with several activities. He applauded Vimetco and the CDC for undertaking this giant project. He said this project is a felt need of the community as it will serve as the biggest multipurpose centre in the history of the mining communities. He urged the contractor to implement this project as designed so that there will be value for money.
The Chief Finance Officer of SMHL/Vimetco, Abdul Bangura said his company was committed to all infrastructural development within the four mining chiefdoms. According to him, in line with the 2015 CDC agreement, Vimetco is the only company in Sierra Leone to contribute 1% of its sale revenue to the CDC accounts to be used for community developments. He disclosed that in 2018, the company sales is estimated at 60 million USD and 1% of this projected sales return which is $600,000 will be paid to the CDC account to fund community project. He reiterated that other mining companies were obligated to give 0.01% of their annual sales/profit to host communities. He informed that Vimetco through CDC has allocated 3.4billion Leones to undertake 6 projects in 2018. According to him, each of the five mining chiefdoms is expected to have four hundred million Leones to undertake a project and the CDC Complex at Mosenesie which cost Le1.4billion.
He informed that the company faced some challenges but yearly pays out USD $6 – 8 Million per annum to the government and related government institution on tax and levies.
The Chairman of CDC, James O. miller called for popular participation in the development of all community projects. He expressed delight to management of Vimetco and CDC for undertaking so many projects. He disclosed that construction of community buildings including schools, scholarships amongst others were synonymous to Vimetco. He used the opportunity to appeal to all and sundry to monitor the construction of the complex.