For over two years, a Chinese Company known as Kingho has been secretly milking the people of Sierra Leone dry and leaving them bony. Carting away container loads of Iron Ore materials from the Northern Provinces with impunity and disregard for the law of the country. The brain behind the operation that the Kingho Mining Company had engaged in for over two years, is the semi-literate Resident Minister of the Northern Province, Mr. Alie Kamara who was quoted to have made boastful statements that whatever the situation is Kingho will stay and take over mining leases granted to many companies.


It is now evidently clear that the pronouncement of Mr. Alie Kamara is gradually becoming true as most other competing both local and foreign mining companies are beginning to suffer unjustly and unfairly after the government visit to China, where it is reported that Kingho made an elaborate and deceitful welcome to the group aimed at grabbing what they want in Sierra Leone, among which is to have undisputable access to rich mining locations in the country.

What has become one of the major concerns of the general public and heart breaking news to residents of the Kholifa Rowanlla, Kafe Simiria Gbonkenlenken Chiefdoms in the Tonkolili District is what could be described as an unfair  unethical and unprofessional step recently adopted by the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources to cancel the mining licenses of Transcend International Resources (SL) Limited for the sake of Kingho Mining Company, the Company that has milked and continues to abuse the natural resources of this country and shipped overseas.

It is not known what transpired during the China visit of President Koroma and those who travelled with him that prompted the unprofessional and unethical decision of the Ministry of Mineral Resources to notify Transcend International Company of the ministry’s plan to cancel its mining licenses without committing any violation of the Mines and Minerals Act 2009.

The interpretation of the ministry’s action by the public has been mixed, with some sections of the public perceiving it as a clear case of injustice.

The notification letter from the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources was dated 5th August, 2013; but was craftily dispatched and delivered to the Transcend office of 15th August 2013, thus giving the impression that it had since been sent and received. These are some of the unprofessional behaviours of most Government Ministry and officials” Echoed a retired Civil Servant. The Kingho Mining Company according to investigation conducted by this medium holds about Fourteen Mining Concession Licenses ranging from Iron Ore to the Gold from the Pujehun District to the Northern Provinces. Just recently two of the Mining Licences were withdrawn from the Company with Twelve still at its disposal and currently pressing for other Mining Companies that had since established in other areas of the Northern Province to be kicked out

“Investment deals worth over US$8bn, more than twice the size of Sierra Leone’s GDP, were announced following the visit of the Sierra Leonean president, Ernest Bai Koroma, to China in early July, further strengthening the use between the two countries.

Among the announced deals is a Memorandum of Understanding concerning US$6.5bn worth of investments by China Kingho Group, one of China’s largest privately owned energy companies, which holds two iron ore exploration licenses in the northern Tonkolili district.  Apart from funds aimed at developing mining operations, investments will also be made in port infrastructure, a 250km railway line from Magburaka – the capital of Tonkolili district – to the coastal town of Sulima in the south, a smelting facility powered by a 350mw hydroelectric plant, and road upgrades.

According to Sierra Leone’s ambassador to China, the works would be completed by 2017.  Four years is a relatively short span for such large investments, particularly given the administrative and infrastructural constraints currently in place in Sierra Leone.  Nevertheless, even allowing for delays and potential reductions in the amount invested, the planned investments would provide a significant boost to economic growth in the medium to long term.

However, the hefty sums warrant some scepticism, and it is uncertain whether the full range of planned investments will go ahead.  Moreover, few details of the projects have been released, and it is unclear whether infrastructure such as the port and the railway will be purpose built solely for mining operations.  This is the case for much of the infrastructure built around the two iron ore mines currently in operation in northern Sierra Leone.  This will limit the investments’ impact and fuel unequal growth with limited benefits for the average Sierra Leone.  In order to ensure more broad based growth, public roads, railways and ports will need to be developed.

Highlighting the authorities’ efforts to boost the agribusiness sector, a US$1.5bn rubber plantation project – which will produce around 200,000 tones/year of rubber – was also among the deals announced following Mr. Koroma’s China visit.  Moreover, a new international airport 60 km from Freetown, the capital, is to be constructed by a Chinese company at a cost of around US$300m.  The current airport, located across the Sierra Leone River from                                                                    the capital, is ill placed to assist in the government’s efforts to promote the country as a tourist destination, and the new airport will boost connectivity and make it easier to attract investors from abroad.

The planned investments are unlikely to affect our current economic growth forecast but will support GDP growth beyond the current outlook period (2013-14)”

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