Sierra Leone’s envoy to China has called on Shandong Iron and Steel Group Co. Ltd in Shandong Province, North of China to strongly consider processing raw ore in Sierra Leone into finished product given the company’s huge presence in the country through its operations in the Tonkolili District.
Ambassador Alimamy P. Koroma made the call on Tuesday 23rd August, 2016 in Jinan City, during an official visit to the company’s headquarters following which, was a conducted tour on the company’s Iron/Steel Processing Plant, which now employs 15,000 personnel, with an annual production capacity of 6.6 million tons.
Ambassador Koroma said, processing raw ore into finished product in the country will not only help in building the country’s economy as well as in creating job opportunities, it will also eventually see a boom in the production level of the company as well as expanding their presence in the country.
Shandong Steel, he said, is the largest single investor and employer in Sierra Leone and as such the country shall continue to give premium to her relationship with the company, emphasizing “we shall continue to treat our relationship with you very seriously”, further committing government’s support to the company’s operations.
He said, he was pleased to learn of the company’s full operations in the country though with challenges “which will surely be overcome, with the good news that price of iron ore is now improving.”
Ambassador Koroma, during his meeting with the Group, also paid tribute to the late Moseray Gibriel Fadika, commending his initial role in African Minerals and later in its transition to Shandong Steel.
His death, he said was a great shock to the country and called for a minute of silent prayers for his departed soul.
Shandong Steel’s Vice President, Tao Dengkui briefed Ambassador Koroma and entourage on the company’s operations, highlighting the challenges they have been going through so far in Sierra Leone.
In an optimistic mood, the Vice President said, with price of Iron Ore now improving in the global market, they have started operations again in Sierra Leone, also assuring of their commitment to sustain their operations in the country in diverse ways.
Shandong Iron and Steel Group Co. Ltd is a Chinese state-owned enterprise, established in March, 2008 with its Jinan based Iron & Steel Company Ltd engaging in smelting, processing and sale of steel products.
In 2015, it acquired African Minerals Ltd’s 75 per cent stake in the Tonkolili Iron Ore mine in Sierra Leone eventually giving it 100 percent ownership of the equity of Tonkolili Iron Ore (SL) Limited.
John Baimba Sesay
Sierra Leone Embassy-China