President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has praised Aureus Mining Incorporated (AMI) for the level of infrastructure development projects the company is undertaking in Grand Cape Mount County, north western Liberia. President Sirleaf made the commendation during a recent visit to the company’s operation sites in Kinjor, Grand Cape Mount County, where she made specific reference to the company’s successful Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) and the Community Development Plan (CDP) for affected communities and residents within the concession areas.
Aureus Mining Incorporated (the “New Liberty Gold Project,”) is Liberia’s first hard-rock gold mining company operating in Grand Cape Mount County. The President said she was deeply impressed by Aureus’ health, education and housing projects for residents and employees.
Upbeat by the level of transformation in the once remote and sparsely populated Kinjor Town, the President observed that Aureus has improved the lives of residents of the area. She used the occasion to call on other concession companies to follow the good examples of Aureus as she heartedly greeted its officials at the concession site.
“If all concession companies were following the examples of Aureus, there would be no problem at many of the concessions in the country,” President Sirleaf said.
Commenting on the issue of employment for the population, the Liberian leader noted that Aureus alone cannot employ everyone in Grand Cape Mount County. She encouraged the youths in the county to engage in agriculture and other positive ventures as a means of empowering themselves.
While Kinjor Town, Darblo Clan, Gola Konneh Distract, President Sirleaf visited the new RAP Village, where over 600 temporary and prominent housing units are being built for residents of the affected community.
The President also visited Camp David, where Aureus Mining is constructing housing units for its workers and later visited the site of the washing plant currently under construction where the gravel containing gold will be washed and processed.
For his part, Aureus Mining’s country Manager Debah Allen expressed his delights over the President’s visit and promised his company’s commitment to the development of post-war Liberia and as well to the rebuilding of the country’s economy.
Mr. Allen declared that Aureus Mining has 1, 500 employees currently in its employ. He added that the company is also providing skills training for many of the residents and building their capacity through the setting-up of cooperatives as a means of developing the livelihood of the locals.
“We have set up a timber sale cooperative with the community to provide skills training and equipment for the locals to roof trusses, doors and windows, which are purchased by Aureus for the construction of the RAP, and mine accommodation in other areas,” he said.
The Aureus’ country manager disclosed that the company has constructed an elementary school for the community and is currently paying the teaching staff.
Mr. Allen announced that a clinic and a police station will soon be constructed and housed within the new community center. He noted both the clinic and the police station will be turned over to the government upon completion.
“We intend to establish an agricultural and seamstress cooperatives for the community to produce agriculture produce and sew reflective and safety uniforms for sale to the company,” Mr. Allen noted.
Aureus Mining Incorporated was formed in April of 2011 following the butterfly split of African Aura Mining into separate gold and iron ore entities.
The company is currently constructing the first commercial gold mine in Liberia, the New Liberty Gold Project and discovering and developing new mines.
Aureus CEO’s Assertion and Company’s Investment Portfolio
In a power point presentation to President Sirleaf and her delegation, the president and CEO of the Aureus Mining Company, Mr. David Reading, outlined the company’s achievements since 2011.
According to Mr. Reading, Aureus Company has raised US$40 million for conversion drilling, definitive feasibility study and exploration in the same year.
Mr. Reading added: “the Company completed feasibility studies and was granted environmental permit by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia in 2012 and that the company also raised US$80 million from equity financing”
The CEO informed President Sirleaf that in 2013, the EPA approved the RAP and the CDP, restated and amended the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) with the government and the company raised US$16 million equity for corporate and exploration purposes amongst others.
Mr. Reading also informed the Liberian leader that in 2014, “Aureus completed the foundation of the mill and steel work and has since commenced on site; and that the company raised US$15 million and first drawdown on New Liberty Project finance facilities.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Reading has disclosed that the mine has an eight- year life span and the first pour of gold will be on track by March of 2015.
Residents’ Descending Opinions
In a related development, residents of Kinjor Town have begun relocating from the old village to the temporary housing units until the main housing units are completed.
Some of the residents in Kinjor have, however, expressed mixed feelings over the relocation process. They indicated that their temporary structures have not been completed; as such, they are finding it difficult to relocate.
They want the company to fully complete their structure before they can be relocated. They also complained of unemployment and want the company to employ more youths in the community.