On Sunday, officials of GACH Global Group travelled to Tujereng to deliver the company’s undertaking to plough back 5 percent of its black sand mining revenue to the community after every six months.
The officials of the company presented a cheque of D1.5 million to the community. The early payment was made after the community sought company’s intervention for the bankrolling of some community projects.
Speaking shortly after receiving the cheque, a smiling Tujereng alkalo, Karamo Bojang, disclosed that since mining of black sand began in the coastal village in the early fifties, the community never enjoyed a slice from mining activities, enthusing that GACH was the first company to give back to the village.
The officials were received by the Alkalo of Tujereng, representatives of the VDC and other members of the community.
Alkalo Bojang, explained that prospecting of black sand started in Tujereng in the 1950s but that the community was robbed of its share of the cake until when it reached a revenue sharing agreement with GACH.
He hailed GACH’s investment in black sand mining in his community as life-changing and Gambianisation of the sector.
“I think they (GACH) have realized that when they took resources from the sand, they should be ploughed back (to the community). The negotiation was friendly until we reached an agreement,” Mr. Bojang, who also served as Principal of Nusrat Senior Secondary School for many years, explained.
He further explained that the money will be invested in projects approved by the VDC.
Speaking earlier, Head of GACH Mining, Mr. Amadou Manneh, said: “We are very happy today. Since we came here, we’ve never experienced any problem with our mining activities. We never had any issue with the VDC or Alkalo.”
Mr. Manneh told the gathering that the CEO of GACH Group, Dr. Abubakary Jawara, consistently advises GACH Mining to maintain cordial relations with the communities that it operates in.”
According to him, GACH’s mining activities are carried out with due diligence and sense of responsibility.
The Vice Chairman of Tujereng VDC, Alieu Sambou, said: “Sometimes when you talk about mining, it’s negative. True, we had our experiences (with mining companies) but if you have a company that is responsible and willing to plough back, it (mining) is a good thing.”
He explained that the D1,050, 000 paid to the community by GACH, will be utilized for the construction of a secretariat and boot office for the VDC, shade for the Office of the Alkalo, provision of security at the upgraded Tujereng market and expansion of the village’s Madrassa.
He underlined that people will be encouraged once the benefits of mining are felt.
Former secretary general and head of the civil service also a respected member of Tujereng community, Alieu Ngum, described the relationship between GACH Mining and Tujereng as cordial and fruitful.
According to him, this excellent relation is due to the responsible and sustainable approach that GACH Mining took in its mining operations in the community.
He pointed out that the company’s operations had never been injurious to the environment as opposed to other mining companies engaged in tree felling, bush clearing and other unfriendly environmental practices.
“We have a very good relationship with GACH because of the responsible mining,” Mr. Ngum highlighted.
He explained that GACH Mining has encouraged the community to knock on its doors as regards the revenue sharing agreement reached between Tujereng and the company.
He thanked the company for honouring its side of the bargain.