Solway Mining Receives Boost from Project Impacted Communities

Aerial view of Solway Exploration Camp in Nimba.

... For empowering the locals

Solway Mining Inc, a mining firm that is conducting exploration in two mountains near the East Nimba Nature Reserve, has received a boost from the project impacted communities for prioritizing the locals in their mine activities.

The citizens, headed by Paramount Chief Joseph Yormie, expressed delight in the company’s operation because they are receiving some relief in terms of jobs creation and community empowerment.

The citizens told the visiting members of the Nimba Caucus on Sunday, September 26, 2021 that the company is improving the lives of the citizens through employment and other initiatives.

On Saturday, September 24, 2021, Nimba Caucus of the 54th Legislature began a tour of concession areas, including ArcelorMittal Liberia concession area in Yekepa and the Solway exploration area around the East Nimba Nature Reserve. The Caucus went on a fact finding mission, especially regarding the concessionaires and their relationships with the affected communities, as well as developments undertaken by the concessionaires.

In the AML concessional area, there were grooming responses from the affected communities leaders about how the AML had failed to address some of their needs and the company’s continual denial of the citizens from most of the jobs/employment opportunities.

Even most of the AML employees, especially the locals, show some signs of dissatisfaction in the company for the lack of good housing and other facilities. One local resident of Yekepa told the Daily Observer how they are paying for medical services at the main hospital run by AML and sometimes they are instructed to buy medicines outside of the hospital.

In the case of Solway, nearly all the communities are in support of their operation. The citizens were seen carrying T-shirts bearing the name of Solway Mining Inc and singing in support of the company. Solway Mining Inc is conducting an exploration of two mountains around the East Nimba Nature Reserve, including Mount Bleh and Delton. According to Solway, over 90% of the workforce are Liberians with most of them from the project impacted communities.

The company has also empowered the women within the affected communities in sustainable agriculture activities, where, currently they are cultivating beans and other vegetables, according to one of the youth in Zortapa.

"We are building an agriculture training center within the concession to train the locals in many sectors of agriculture. There were jubilations in all the towns and villages as the visiting caucus passed by. However, the team leader of the caucus, Senator Jeremiah Koung, admonished Solway to continue their good services to the people.

“Your starting is not bad, as the people have a common saying: if the Christmas will be good, you can see it from the eve. Secure your security with the people you live with and if you have a good rapport with the community where you are working your security will be stronger. Nobody will pass in the bushes to steal your fuel or gas when the citizens are satisfied, so give them preference in everything you do,” he said.

However, the management has promised to create several more jobs in the coming years, where preference will be given to Liberians, especially the locals.

“About 95% of our current workforce are Liberians and with most of them coming from the project impacted communities,” said the company. However,  Solway Mining Inc expressed its profound gratitude to the President of Liberia, George Manneh Weah, for granting them the opportunity to explore the iron ore sector in Liberia.

Meanwhile, Solway has applied for a Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) over the licensed area (MEL 8000119). In October 2019, the Government of Liberia, by and through the Ministry of Mines and Energy, awarded Solway Mining Inc. a three-year Mineral Exploration License (MEL). The MEL 8000119 gives Solway Mining Inc. the right to explore the Mt. Delton and Mt. Bele tenements, which are situated approximately 7 kilometers Northeast of Sanniquellie, Nimba County.

“We have constructively engaged the Indigenous Stakeholders, and have secured the cooperation of the Nimba County Authorities, the Traditional Chiefs and Elders, the Joint Community Forest Management Bodies, the Youth Groups and the general citizenry in the surrounding communities,” said the management of Solway.

“Solway Mining Inc. has negotiated and executed Land Surface Rental and Community Development MoU Agreements covering Sustainable Biodiversity Development and Environmental Programs for the areas within close proximity to our Exploration License Area,” said one of the senior staff.

Solway Mining Inc. has completed its Phase 1 Mechanized Drilling and is currently mobilizing 3 drilling rigs, to begin with, the second phase. Based on intensive and extensive geotechnical exploration activities, according to the management, the company unraveled significant resources that could lead to a mining proposition. 

“The community is Solway's co-investor with 5% undiluted equity,” said Solway management.