By Aruna Turay
Shandong Iron and Steel Group has paid surface rent of one billion leones to land owners in chiefdoms in the northern districts of Bombali, Tonkolili and Port Loko.
Head of Cooperate Affairs and Government and Community Relations, Anthony Navo (Jnr), said Company will continue to work within the legal provisions and with the community people.
Paramount Chief of Lokomasama Chiefdom, Bai Maro Angbanthor, said the money will be utilized in building the chiefdom and Shandong Iron and Steel Group ushers in a new hope to his subjects. He said the rent symbolizes the commitment of Shandong Iron and Steel Group to operate and help build his chiefdom.
Land owner, Alhaji Kamara, said the company is doing so much in terms of meeting its Cooperate Social Responsibility, but that effort is being undermined by the stealing of the rail clips by community people who sell them as scrap metals.
Bombali District Council Chairman, Alhaji Kamathor Sesay, said the company has supported series of development projects in the district, citing construction of culverts, community center, the Bumbuna Roundabout, and completion of the Ernest Bai Koroma Secondary School.
Following the payments of the surface rent, the people and Paramount Chief of Diyang Chiefdom applauded the move of the Company, while urging them to explore his land which he said has more iron ore deposit than all the other areas being explored.
The director of the Environment Protection Agency Northern province, Bintu Kelfala, said payment of the surface rent is in line with the law. She said they have been assessing the activities of mining companies, but Shandong has always been in full compliance with the law.
In 2016, the Vice Chairman of China Iron and Steel Association, Hou Jun said USD$ 700 million will be utilized for the construction of processing plants as a further expansion of the Shandong Iron and Steel project in Sierra Leone.