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CTC Mining Company's growth hindered by MLA and infrastructure issues

Updated: Mar 26

The Chief Operating Officer of Commodity Trading Company (CTC), Dr. Yves Mallat, reported substantial financial losses in the previous year due to the company's inability to utilize rail and port facilities for ore shipment.

This issue, coupled with the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources' reluctance to issue an MLA, has significantly impacted CTC's operations and profitability.

On March 24, 2024, during a Parliamentary Oversight visit to CTC's office and mining site in the Port Loko District, Dr. Mallat welcomed the opportunity to discuss the company's successes and challenges with Members of Parliament (MPs).

During the meeting, Dr. Mallat highlighted the company's commitment to employing a workforce consisting primarily of Sierra Leone nationals, with only a small percentage of Turkish partners.

However, he expressed concern over the slow processing of the MLA and the recent change in Mines Minister, emphasizing the impact of the monopoly granted to Kingho Mining Company, which limits CTC's operational capacity.

To address these challenges, CTC has initiated a $10 million rail and port construction project at the Bankasoka River, scheduled for completion in 2025, to mitigate exorbitant port charges.

Dr. Mallat further emphasized the potential loss of employment opportunities for locals due to financial losses exceeding sixteen million dollars. Despite not exporting for the past six months, CTC has maintained its workforce of over one hundred employees.

"The two major obstacles we face are the prolonged delay in obtaining our MLA, which has been pending for over two years, and the challenges in shipping our products," stated Dr. Mallat.

He presented a phased export plan, projecting the shipment of incremental quantities of ore, which would generate revenue for the government. Moreover, Dr. Mallat highlighted CTC's intention to introduce surface mining technology in operational areas, provided fair competition and a level playing field.

Prior to Dr. Mallat's presentation, Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina, Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Mines and Mineral Resources and Deputy Leader Two of Government Business, outlined the purpose of the Parliamentary Oversight field visit.

The visit aimed to assess the company's mining operations, community interventions, and compliance with the Mines and Mineral Development Act,2024, and other mining policies.

Hon. Lamina underscored the importance of balancing the interests of the people, the state, and investors, citing constitutional provisions that empower MPs to conduct oversight of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.

He emphasized the requirement for CTC to fulfill its obligations under the MMD Act, including the payment of surface rent and other provisions while cautioning that non-compliance could result in the recommendation to withhold their license.

During the discussion, MPs raised various concerns and sought clarifications from CTC officials.

Hon. Fatmata S. Soukenah questioned the delayed communication of challenges regarding the MLA and shipment to Parliament, which CTC attributed to ignorance rather than disrespect.

Hon. Aminata Sesay suggested that earlier involvement of the committee could have facilitated a swifter resolution of outstanding issues between CTC and Kingho.

Hon. Bintu Fatmata Bockarie highlighted the need for gender diversity in employment, considering the apparent lack of female representation during the meeting. CTC clarified that women were employed in the Freetown secretariat and as chemists in the mining operations.

MPs also inquired about CTC's efforts in addressing the twin challenges it faced. In response, CTC officials stated that they had engaged with relevant authorities, including the Ministry of Mines, Transport and Aviation, the Chief Minister, the Attorney General, and other influential stakeholders.

Hon. Alhaji Sorieba Turay drew parallels between CTC's challenges and similar experiences encountered by Kingho in his Chiefdom.

Honorable Musa Fofanah, expressed his profound displeasure regarding the strangulation of the China Tongguan Mining Group Company (CTC) operations, highlighting the significant job opportunities at stake. He described the plight of CTC as a detrimental situation for both national interests and foreign investors.

Honorable Jawah Sesay engaged in a series of inquiries with CTC officials, seeking clarifications regarding the reasons advanced by Kingho Company Limited for their actions impacting the shipment of bauxite. The CTC officials conveyed lack of knowledge on said issue, emphasizing their commitment to adherence had they been duly informed.

Honorable Ben Mansaray expressed his gratification upon hearing news of the proposed port construction. However, he expressed concerns that the current situation between CTC and Kingho poses a threat to foreign direct investment, violating established standards of fair trade competition.

In the interest of advancing mining operations in the country, the committee members resolved to extend an invitation to Kingho officials to participate in a formal discussion.

The CTC officials embarked on a guided tour with members of Parliament, of their state-of-the-art laboratory and mining site, showcasing their significant stockpiles of 30,000 tonnes of ore, which had not yet been exported. 

During the site visit, members of Parliament received comprehensive safety induction from CTC staff. They were also informed about the progressive land reclamation and shallow mining techniques employed by CTC to mitigate potential environmental challenges.

The CTC officials expressed their intention to undertake food crop cultivation in areas where they had previously extracted and exported 420 and 875 tons of ore, respectively.

They respectfully requested the intervention of Members of Parliament to address the monopoly held by Kingho over the rail and port facilities, which, in accordance with an agreement ratified by Parliament, should be accessible to all parties.


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