11 August 2014

Sierra Leone: Mining Sector Boosts Fight to Halt Ebola Spread

press release

The mining industry through the Sierra Leone Chamber of Mines on Friday 8th August intensified government's efforts to halt the spread of Ebola virus disease (EVD) with financial and material donations made to President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma at State House.

President Koroma thanked the companies for their consideration, and added that the country is going through a very difficult moment. He noted that considering the pivotal role the mining industry is playing in driving national economic growth, an outbreak like this at this crucial moment in the country's transformation, will definitely affect the operations of the mining sector.

"We appreciate the efforts and resilience that you have shown," the President said, and furthered that government will do what it takes to ensure measures that would protect and contain the spread of the disease are implemented.

President Koroma is strongly optimistic that efforts of this nature will go a long way in boosting government's determination to eradicate EVD in Sierra Leone. He therefore encouraged the mining industry to continue with the sensitization drive as it will serve as a source of motivation, and lauded the Africa Minerals for the donation of two containers of medical equipment and supplies worth over $USD 200,000.

The representative of the Chairman China Kingho Group, Gilbert Zhao conveyed heartfelt courtesies from his Chairman to the President, Government and people of Sierra Leone. He also expressed high confidence that government will succeed in the fight against the disease under the wise leadership of President Koroma.

Mr. Zhao, who presented cheque of Le. 400 Million registered Kingho's readiness and determination to offer whatever assistance required for the wellbeing and prosperity of Sierra Leoneans.

Communications Director of African Minerals Ltd. (AML), Junior Navo informed the President that the Chairman of the company, Mr. Frank Timis visited the country recently to encourage and motivate workers, particularly expatriate staff to be hopeful that the situation would normalize soon. He also mentioned that the company has sensitized all communities around their operations areas on key facts of EVD.

Mr. Navo assured President Koroma that AML will continue to stand by government to help halt the "Ebola scourge", adding that the company has contributed before with the sum of Le. 100 Million as well as a cheque of Le. 22 Million to assist schools in both Kenema and Kailahun.

Before making a donation of Le. 220 Million on behalf of the OCTEA mining company, Secretary General Sierra Leone Chamber of Mines, Ibrahim Sorie Kamara said the nation is presently faced with a crisis that can only be equated to the war that was witnessed by almost everybody in the country.

Mr. Kamara reaffirmed the commitment of the mining sector to help government steer the country through this phase successfully, adding that Ebola crisis will be a thing of the past. He stated that they will continue to review the situation and see where they can also come in and make interventions through collaboration with the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources and other key players in the sector. "This will augment the sensitization process to help engender change in attitudes towards this epidemic," said Mr. Kamara.

Shortly after the different presentations, President Koroma instructed the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Mr. Foday Sawi to develop a comprehensive list of all the contributions that have been made so that members of the public will be fully informed about what has been received and how funds are being spent.

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