Sunday, August 05, 2007

President Kabbah Receives In Audience New Director-General Of The Ministry Of Mineral Resources

DFID Consultant and first ever Director-General of the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Grant Wilson has been formerly presented to the President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.

Minister of Marine Resource Alhaji Mohamed Swaray-Deen said Mr. Wilson was sent here in response to a request made by President Kabbah to DFID to get someone with the know how to help government properly manage the mining sector

He said Mr. Wilson was here to carry a review on an assessment carried out by DFID on the Ministry's operations.

President Kabbah in welcoming Mr. Wilson said that Sierra Leone depended a lot on its mineral resources, but that the country was not getting as much as it should from this sector. This he said was a concern to the government and hence, it decided to seek assistance from DFID to get someone with experience in this area to help government in its policy direction in order for the country to be able to derive maximum benefit from this sector.

As a country he said many efforts have been made in this area including the carrying out of the first Ariel Magnetic Survey, from which a lot of information were collated which were being pursued.

His Excellency further said, government had contacted a Chinese Geological Survey team to help in locating the country's mineral deposits to help government build a database, which it could use to negotiate with potential investors.

He also informed the DFID consultant that Sierra Leone has joined the EITI process to ensure transparency in industry.

He said prospecting companies have found substantial quantity of Iron Ore, Aluminum, Bauxite and Rutile deposits; while a seismic survey on oil prospecting was also conducted. He told Mr. Wilson that Australian company has already conducted a three-dimensional survey and that drilling is expected to commence in January next year.

The President also informed him that a certain company is currently negotiating with the ministry of Mines to start the exploitation of bauxite, but he said government wants value to be added rather than exporting the raw material. But he said for this involves a huge investment. He also disclosed that there is a company proposing to build a railway to convey the minerals to the port. However, government does not want to concentrate all this activities in the hands of just one company, but want to get more companies involved.

He called on the Director-General to look at all this to see what is good and in the best interest of the country.

Mr. Gant Wilson was very much impressed with the personal interest demonstrated by President Kabbah, in ensuring that the country derives maximum benefits from its mineral resources. He said since his arrival he has been getting very positive feedbacks and cooperation from officials of the ministry of mines and they would work to provide the framework for the success of the mining industry and the ministry as a whole.

Mr. Wilson said he would be here for two years during this period training would be provided for Sierra Leoneans to eventually take over the task.

Minister of Presidential Affairs Dr. Sheku Sesay spoke about the support given by DFID to help government with the process of review of its agreement with Sierra Rutile.

In another development, President Kabbah received in audience the German Ambassador to Sierra Leone. He was accompanied by the German Member of Parliament Marcus Mykel and Madame Noor GTZ Country Director.

Sierra Leone: President: President Kabbah Receives In Audience New Director-General Of The Ministry Of Mineral Resources