NewsWest AfricaSierra Leone is in the process of reviewing contracts - Mansaray


Posted on Thursday, 19 September 2013 10:30

Sierra Leone is in the process of reviewing contracts - Mansaray

By Gemma Ware in Freetown

Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray Minister of mines and mineral resources, Sierra Leone. Photo©Gemma WareAlhaji Minkailu Mansaray, Sierra Leone's Minister of mines and mineral resources, explains how the Freetown government is establishing new mechanisms for transparency using a five-year renegotiation window.


Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray: The NMA is a creation of the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources with special responsibility to handle technical issues: to monitor, to regulate, to implement policies that develop or are created by the ministry itself. They will be solely responsible for technical matters. It will ensure that in the process of them carrying out their activities, the government increases revenue generation. It will also ensure that the communities benefit out of the natural resources and ensure that the investors also benefit as a result of their investment.

There is 100% political will. That is why the President brought EITI under his office

Are you in the process of re­ negotiating the contracts origin­ally signed with London Mining and African Minerals?

For a period of up to five years, contracts are subject to review. We acknowledge that we have to protect and secure the tenure of mining companies [...]. You're talking about specific companies. We are in the process of reviewing as part of the end of their five-year term. We are through with some [other companies] and we will be monitoring the timeline such that when it is really due, we will engage the companies.

In December, Sierra Leone missed its target for the com­pletion point of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). One of the failures mentioned was a lack of political will. How will you rectify that?

That is not true. The failure is not as a result of lack of political will, I have to correct that. It is just an area of reporting, that was where we did not rise up to the requirement. It is an emerging procedure and we have to go to the hinter- land, the rural areas to educate these people and do sensitisation, raise their awareness to realise that when you receive, you have to report. Now we have developed a system, mechanisms such that we improve on the ongoing re- porting and monitoring sector of this EITI. There is 100% political will. That is why in the wisdom of his excellency the President, he disengaged EITI and brought it under his office.

In May you signed a $6bn deal with China Kingho Energy Group that included plans to build a port, industrial hub and railway. What does the deal contain?

It is a memorandum of understanding [MOU]. Kingho has been with us for quite some time now. Our country is an attractive place for mining and investors, and we brought in their programmes; we examined the programmes very critically. We carried out due diligence and we thought we can develop an MOU to address the investment portfolio package that they brought to us.

The monetary issue does not come at this point. It is an under- standing between the two parties that we are going to do a,b,c,d,e and we accept you to do a,b,c,d,e. If you say your a,b,c,d,e is quantified to be $100m, so be it, but nothing comes on board or is physically transferred by way of cash.

One of Kingho's proposed pro­jects is an industrial park with a steel factory. When might this happen?

We have an open-door policy. There are other investors that are progressively working on establishing a steel industry, [such as] Samshi. Creating a factory of that nature is highly capital-intensive. They are not producing the iron ore themselves. They will have to go into agreement with the producers of iron ore. That is another issue. For us as a government, we create the enabling environment. We can be called upon to bring the two parties together because we want the country to progress. [Samshi] are negotiating and discussing the issues. By the end of the year, they would have concluded. ●

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