History was over the weekend made in Haindii, one of the historic towns and the political seat of Fuamah District in Bong County, when China Union Investment (Liberia) Bong Mines Co, commonly known as China Union had a commencement ceremony for the construction of a road that would connect the concessional settlement of Bong Mines to that famous town.
According to residents of the town and surrounding villages, when completed the road would bring them much relief, thereby improving their movement.
The citizens said that this new development comes after over 50 concessional activities in the district when their (citizens) natural resource (notably, iron ore) were taken away by past concessionaires and previous governments, leaving nothing behind except t ruined lives and almost-depleted forests.
But they thanked China Union for taking over and bringing to them and their children, what they long thought should have been done by previous concessionaires and Liberian leaders. The Haindii construction project is in fulfillment of China Union’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) promised the Government and people of Liberia.
Addressing the audience at the ceremony in Haindii on Saturday, November 16, the General Manager of China Union, Mr. Luo Yuanjun disclosed that the construction of the road would start from Bong Town railway and runs directly to Haindii, which is about 200 kilometers, and ends at the St. Paul River. The total-length of the road is 13,406 km.
China Union Investment (Liberia) Bong Mines Co. is the major overseas mining company owned by WISCO—the third largest iron and steel company in China.
The original road leading from Bong Town to Handii is earth road, with a roadbed of four meters wide, but Mr. Yuanjun noted that after exploration, according to China Road Engineering Technology Standard, the new road is designed to be 7 meters wide; with width of roadbed is 8.5 meter.
He said that the road structure can be divided into two levels, with the 10 cm upper layer, made of gravels with a particle size of 0 to 25 mm, and the 20 cm sub layer, made of gravels with a particle size of 25 to 65 mm.
The China Union’s boss said that Heavy duty compacting criteria is adopted in the course of the road bed. And China Union strictly abides by the criteria of China Earth Road Testing Regulations about the maximum particle size of padding materials and compacting index. He indicated that the company designed 30 culverts in the whole line.”
He indicated: “In view of the situation that there are too many residences on both sides of the road, 1731 meters long culverts were designed for the transportation convenience. The Bridges can afford the weight of vehicles less than 5 tons”
“We are gathered here today to celebrate the festive day for the commencement of Haindii road construction project. On behalf of China Union (Hong Kong) Mining Co, and all the staff of China Union Investment (Liberia) Bong Mines Co, I want to extend sincere appreciation to all the workers: construction teams, construction supervision institutions present.
“Bong Mines project is the largest scale project for economic and trade cooperation between China and Liberia, it also being an important part of two countries’ economic and diplomacy activities.
“China Union has recruited more than 1,000 employees during the Bong Mines construction period, and recently we newly recruited more than 200 Liberian employees. They shall be assigned in batches and by stages to different positions after training,” Mr. Yuanjun said.
He furthered that during the Bong Mine Project construction process, the company got high attention and strong support from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Representative of Fuamah District, Madam Korpu Barclay, said the road project was a milestone in the lives of the people of the district. She said that the project was a result of the efforts of every stakeholder, including citizens of the district, the management of China Union and the Government of Liberia.
She urged all segment of the citizenry to unite and forge ahead for more developments that will impact the lives of the people, especially the young ones who will have the opportunity to see a pave road for the first time in the district.
The lawmaker noted that development such as road can open up an environment and Fuamah District will be no exception.
Making remarks also was the Paramount Chief of Fuamah District, Chief Joseph Tarte. Chief Tarte lauded the President Sirleaf and the management of China Union for bringing such a huge investment to the district.
He said the importance of the construction of the road, which they have been craving for years, cannot be over emphasized due to the economic impact it will have on the lives of the people of the district.
Chief Tarte, however, appealed to President Sirleaf, CU management and other development partners, to build a bridge over the St. Paul River where the road project is expected to stop.
Haindii sits right alongside the St. Paul River and the only means of getting across it is by canoe or swimming.
Residents of Haindii and surrounding villages celebrated from dawn until late afternoon, for what they termed as a great undertaking and achievement in the history of their town and district. They said they had long awaited such development.
Haindii is historic to residents of the district and others in Bong County because it is the home of the county’s first-ever Senator, Gbortoh Barclay. He was the grandfather of the district’s current lawmaker, Representative Korpu Barclay, as well as the home of one of Liberia’s literary writers, Professor Wilton Sankawolo.
The township also has one of Liberia’s islands — Dublin Island — which could be used as a tourist attraction site, when Liberia’s tourism sector begins actual business.
Apart from the $3.5 million social contribution funds that the company paid to the Liberia Government every year, China Union also took over 93 medical staffs from the Bong Mines Hospital, and dispatched 10 medical staffs from China to help the Liberian medical career.
The company spent more than US$500,000 repairing the school and purchasing teaching equipment and books. China Union also invested more than $18.6 million dollars to renovate the 35-km Kakata–Bong Mines road.
Present at the occasion also were Edwin Sarvice, Project Development Unit in the office of President Sirleaf, Liu Yun Biao, Economic and Commercial Counselor of Chinese Embassy, Sherrif Anthony, Development Superintendent of Bong County, Hampton Giddings, Commissioner of Fuamah District and leaders of the Fuamah Youths Development Platform.