The people of Kathiri Village, Sella Limba Chiefdom in Bombali District have disclosed that they will never forget AMR Gold Exploration Company, for supporting the formation of an Artisanal Mining Cooperative that is currently bettering their lives.
The Cooperative, with a hundred memberships comprising mostly young people, is in line with government’s quest to properly regulate and manage artisanal mining, as required by the Mines and Minerals Act 2009.
AMR Gold is not only providing technical support, but funding the start-up of the cooperatives to enable them pay the salaries of their workers, and also teach the artisanal miners effective and efficient mining practices targeting recoveries of 90% of the mineral present.
The revenues from the sale of the Coltan will be distributed according to the agreements entered into between AMR Gold and the Cooperatives and it is hoped that a portion of the funds will be used to support community development programmes.
The objective is to make the cooperatives self-sustaining and to use the AMR Gold initiated and supported artisanal cooperatives as a model that could be used throughout Sierra Leone.
Speaking to local journalists from Standard Times; Radio Democracy; Star TV; AYV Newspaper and SLBC TV; AMR Gold’s Project Geologist said they have trained the cooperative miners and regulated the mining process to enhance international best practice so that the country and the community will continue to benefit from mining.
Raymond Quee stated that the local Miners are working closely with AMR Gold representative on a daily basis to ensure strict adherence to the mining regulations.
He said AMR Gold has provided seed money in a form of a loan that will be paid back when the business becomes self-sustaining.
Mr. Quee revealed that before now the trade of Coltan mining was practiced illegally, which was why the local people as well as the community did not realize any profit. He added that bringing them together under one organised umbrella to do legal mining is a laudable venture.
Chairman of the Sella Limba Mining Cooperative (SeMCO), Ballaba Bangura said mined Coltan are always recorded before analysis at AMR Gold lab in Kamakwie, noting that in order to demonstrate transparency, the Coltan is weighed on a daily basis before being finally recorded.
Sella Limba Mining Cooperative Members at work
He told the investigative journalists at their Kathiri Mining Site that a good quantity of it will be exported by the company for sale in the international market, and that proceeds from the transaction will be equally shared (50-50) between the company and the Cooperative.
He is grateful to AMR Gold for not only bringing them together to develop themselves, their families and communities; but for also providing daily wages to workers in the Cooperatives during the start up period.
It could be recalled that on Friday 23 November 2015, AMR God facilitated the launch of the Sanda Loko Cooperative Mining Society. The launch which brought over four hundred community people together, was witnessed by Mines Monitoring Officers, Sierra Leone Police, Civil Society monitoring groups, journalists and other Chiefdom stakeholders.
The Cooperatives are grateful to AMR Gold because the company has introduced a concept that is not only managed and controlled by the Landowners, but creates more jobs for the community.
Most people spoken to called on the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources to incorporate the Artisanal mining cooperative as a policy so other mining companies will emulate the good work of AMR Gold.
Laima Bangura (With head/washing pan) and his dedicated team