Shandong to invest $1.5 billion

By Abu Bakarr Kargbo

Shandong Iron and Steel Group Co. Ltd. is a Chinese state-owned enterprise, established in March 2008 with its Jinan based Iron & Steel Company Ltd. It is engaged in the smelting, processing, and sale of steel products.

If approved by its parent body, Shandong Companywill invest an additional $ 1.5billion for its phase two operation to be spent on mines and infrastructure development,as has already invested $2.1Billion in its phase one project, company officials say. The company hopes to continue in meeting its financial obligations to its staff, community, and the nation.

The Government of Sierra Leone has however committed itself to support all stages of the Chinese steelmaker’s operations in Sierra Leone and described its operation as a positive turning point in the country’s quest for economic development.

Being the largest employer in Sierra Leone, Shandong Steel hopes to continue in that as it plans to employ over thirty thousand workers in the second Phase of its operations.

It acquired in 2015, African Minerals Ltd’s 75% stake in the Tonkolili Iron Ore mine, eventually giving it 100% ownership of Tonkolili Iron Ore (SL) Limited.

It has over the years being important in Sierra Leone, serving as a major player in the country’s economy, and export earnings. It hopes to continue playing it good role in Sierra Leone’s economic growth.

By 2015, Shandong’s provincial GDP contribution was 6.3 trillion Yuan, making it the third largest economy in China.

However, a successful meeting held in the Conference Room of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security ended up in joy and laughter after Shandong Steel Mining Company reached an agreement with the Ministry of Labour to pay aggrieved Senior Staff benefits. The aggrieved senior staff had stormed the Ministry’s compound to not only protest for their entitlement but also wait for a conclusive outcome of a meeting that was witnessed by their representatives.

A letter addressed to the Managing Director of Shandong Steel Company from the Ministry of Labour dated 7th May 2018; quoted a memorandum from the Office of the President dated 30th April 2018, instructing the ministry to investigate the redundancy of Senior Employees of the company.

“We have successfully resolved several issues that emanated on the payment of end of service benefits. We realize that there were mistakes in calculations and several misconceptions sprang up. But we are happy that the Ministry of Labour intervened at the right time to settle our issues with the Senior Employees,” Shandong’s Official says noting that the company is now on a sound footing to meet its financial obligation as required by law.

Joseph Moy Kamara, a Senior Staff Shandong said they are not in any way at war with the Chinese Company, but rather they want their entitlement to be paid to enable them to move on with their lives. “We want them to follow international best practices and give us a date as to when and how we are going to get our end of service benefit,” Kamara remarked.

Another aggrieved Senior Staff, Peter Abraham, said: “We are not pushing anything against company rules; rather we want our end of service benefit”.

The company states that one of the most challenging aspects relating to Phase 1 of the project was logistics; however, Phase two is not expected to face the same challenge.

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