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Page added on September 13, 2010
African Minerals, with proven track record in Sierra Leone, has demonstrated its willingness to advance the Tonkolili Iron Ore project from concept to reality, all in a bid to make the country a heaven on earth. (Photo: Pat Ramunno, General Manager, Tonkolili Project,)
Based on the success of the major iron ore discovery at Tonkolili, AML is now undertaking significant expenditure for the construction of mine, rail, port and power.
The General Manager of the Tonkolili Project, Pat Ramunno confirmed to this press that the company’s drilling process will soon come to an end and mining will commence by December 2010. He added that they are doing test pit currently in order to know to do blasting during mining or not. He reiterated that if there the need to blast, the company will take up the venture to relocate the people of Ferengbeya. The General Manager pointed out that even though he is currently enjoying working with the locals, one of his greatest challenges is training for the workforce. In spite of the fact that he is presently managing about five hundred workers, comprising of casual and permanent, there is the need to up skill the workforce.
AML’s Senior Geologist, Joseph Lebbie informed this press that they are undertaking exploration of sabolite resources which is the oxide part of the ore. For the past two years, he said they have been drilling magnetite and also discovered hematite and saprolite. The end product of these, he said will be steel. “We are drilling at 90 degrees vertically. My hope is to have a very successful mining project,” Mr. Lebbie said, and added that he is comfortable to work with 122 staffs under his department.
The current workforce is with a strong conviction that the AML management are highly skilled, with a proven track record in exploration, construction and iron ore operations. During the exploration program, AML employed in excess of two thousand Sierra Leoneans to achieve these accelerated results that led to Mining License been granted by the government.
There are however significant opportunities for employment of Sierra Leone nationals that have already been realised during the exploration program.
The transition into the construction phase created further substantial training and employment opportunities.
The production phase will create long term professional and skilled training opportunities empowering the Sierra Leone people. AML has a demonstrated track record of conducting ongoing “on the job” training for employees in many professional and trade disciplines.
To date, AML has delivered training to many Sierra Leoneans creating employment opportunities in the following disciplines: Geological Technician, Geophysical Technician, Survey Technician, and Laboratory Technician, Specialist (off-road) Driver, Heavy Equipment Operative, Drill Offsider, Drill Mechanic, and Light Vehicle Mechanic.
There are substantial community development projects in health, education and infrastructure. These development activities were embraced by the Acting Paramount Chief of Samaya Bendugu Chiefdom, PC Musa Bendugu Jalloh. He reiterated the fact that with intervention of African Minerals, there are lots of changes in the chiefdom. He revealed that African Minerals has contributed to facilitate several projects such as construction of roads, bridges, schools, water supply system, provided scholarships, and currently they are taking a good care of their sick Paramount Chief, PC Jalloh II. “They have done this during exploration. I am with the strong conviction that they will do more during mining.” The Acting Paramount Chief told this press that he has been sensitizing his people about the operations of African Minerals, and concluded by admonishing all and sundry that every Sierra Leonean should embrace African Minerals because the company is in Sierra Leone to boost the economy.
By Fadda Bakish
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