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Cluff Gold Sierra Leone has paid their 2012 -2013 surface rent and chiefdom development funding to land owners and community stakeholders in the Valunia Chiefdom Bo District over the weekend witnessed by local authorities and government officers. (Photo: Paramount Chief of Valunia Chiefdom JB Vonjoe flanked by Cluff Gold Country Manager Alusine Jalloh handing over the cheque to Director of Mines Jonathan Sharkar )
Clifford Pat Nelly Administrative and Finance Officer of Cluff Gold Sierra Leone said “we are fulfilling our obligation to the landowners as a responsible mining company operating at Baomahun.”
He said “we are also delivering our promise to the government and people of Sierra Leone by paying our surface rent and development funds to the communities where we operate,” he explained to the crowded ceremony.
The Country Manager for Cluff Gold Sierra Leone Mr. Alusine Jalloh expressed thanks and appreciation to the land owners and local stakeholders at Baomahun for embracing the company in their communities peacefully.
He said we are paying a cheque with a face value of one hundred and fifty five million, four hundred and forty Leones (Le 155,440,215.78) as stipulated in the agreement.
He said the surface rent payment by Cluff Gold Sierra Leone is to fulfill the company’s obligations on the reviewed mines and minerals act to offset the inconveniences caused while working on the surface of land.
He said since the company started operation at Baomahun, they have not yet shipped a single ounce of gold to the market, the company is currently planning to construct the mining site, and they will employ only qualified indigenes
He encouraged beneficiaries of the surface rent to establish community development committees that will harness development for the people and called on the people to judiciously utilize the funds for the benefit of all.
He stated that Cluff Gold parent company has been renamed to Amara Mining plc but the operations of the company remains the same.
The country manager of Cluff Gold Sierra Leone also called on youths to desist from violence during and after the election to ensure free, fair and transparent election that reflects the aspiration of the people.
Jonathan Sharkah Director of Mines in the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources properly explained about the essence of the surface rent and the role of government to ensure mining abide by the rules.
Explaining further he said the government has reduced 20 percent on the surface rent payment and ten percent as withholding tax on the bulk money for the surface rent.
He said the surface rent is distributed as follows 50 percent of the amount will be giving to the affected landowners, fifteen percent for the paramount chief and local councils whilst the constituency development fund is also ten percent and chiefdom development fund at ten percent.
He said Cluff Gold have not started mining at Baomahun due to a boundary issue with the forest the government have also agreed to shift the boundary so that Cluff Gold can start operation as soon as possible.
The Director of Mines said the company will soon start operation and encouraged locals to be trained in technical to secure them employment at the mining company and called on the locals to embrace the Cluff Gold and called on them to remain peaceful for the development of the country.
The Senior District Officer Southern Region Abdulai Mansaray while delivering his opening remarks said Cluff Gold has innovatively fulfilled their corporate social responsibility by reconstructing a 5km road from Mongehre to Baomahun to ease the transportation constraints faced by locals in the area.
He also said that the company h also constructed a modern Police Station with staff quarters to ensure the protection of lives and properties and also rehabilitated the community court Barray where local authorities meet to discuss issues with their subjects.
The Paramount Chief of Valunia Chiefdom Bo District JBN Vonjoe commended Cluff Gold for investing in his chiefdom and for also contributing to the social economic development of the chiefdom and for also creating jobs for trained and qualified indigenes.
He assured that local authorities in the Valunia chiefdom will continue to work closely with Cluff Gold Company to protect their investment in the chiefdom for the benefit of the people. Paramount Chief Vonjoe said the people are willing to work with Cluff Gold Sierra Leone.
He assured that that they will use the community development fund for its intended purpose and called on land holding families to use their monies to improve their livelihoods.
Karimu Lahai Head of the Baomahun Land Owners Federation called for a re -negotiation of the surface rent payment with Cluff Gold to reflect the economic situation of the country.
He argued that the surface rent fee is too small to share among the land holding families adding that they are calling for a re negotiations of the surface rent agreement with the land owners.
Handing over the cheque of the surface rent payment and chiefdom development funding to government officers and local authorities formed a high point of the ceremony.
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