By Kebba Ansu Manneh
Hon. Abdou Jobe, Minister of Petroleum and Energy has confirmed the mining of heavy stones in Kaur by the Fajara mining company.
When contacted over the mining of heavy stones in Kaur by Fajara mining company which started last year September, he told this medium that Fajara mining company was licensed to operate in Kaur beginning this 2023, while residents say operation started September 2022
Residents claimed that Fajara Mining Company was mute over the mining of heavy stones in Kaur as they have been generating thousands of dollars for the company while citizens of the community remain in the dark in terms of information sharing.
Officials of Fajara Mining Company declined to comment. Our reporter contacted one Bangally Sissoho who spoke on behalf of Muhammed Sissoho, Chief Executive Officer of Fajara Mining Company, who referred him to contact other stakeholders, including Kaur’s local authorities.
“I cannot comment on the matter and I will urge you to contact your authorities to talk to you about our agreement with them. For me, I cannot tell you anything about the matter, all I know is we have our license to operate but if you want to know, follow your authorities,” Bangally Sissoho told our reporter.
Our reporter has earlier contacted one Kemo Jawara, Secretary General of Kaur, Janneh Kunda, Saihou Jawara, Chairman of Kuntaur Area Council Governor, Central River Region (CRR), and Abdoulie Cham, Director of Geology Department who all failed to shed light on the matter casting further doubts on the transparency of the project.
However, scores of residents who spoke to this medium expressed their dissatisfaction over the activities of the Fajara Mining Company, alleging that everything about the contract agreement between Fajara Mining and the Village Development Committees of Janneh Kunda, Touray Kunda, and Wharftown has been kept secret away from the knowledge of the villagers.
They alleged that the company has been engaging in the mining of heavy stones on the hill-tops of Basen Konko that are ground into smaller pebbles for export to Senegal, Mali, and the Ivory Coast.
A concerned citizen of Kaur who resides in Kaur disclosed that heavy rocks over 100-500kgs are dug daily from the hill-top that are processed and exported to many countries in the sub-region, revealing that the three villages of Kaur Janneh Kunda, Touray Kunda, and Wharftown were only given D300, 000 to be shared among for the proceeds of 2022.
He expressed his disappointment towards the VDC Committees of Kaur Janneh Kunda, Touray Kunda, and Wharftown for reaching an agreement with a mining company without the approval of the villagers, noting that many concerned villagers made attempts to extract information on the mining agreement from the VDCs of the Villages to no avail.
Another native who is conversant with the whole project said the processed stones of the company are usually transported to Dakar and Ivory Coast for sales, adducing that such types of stones are hard to find in the subregion making because it’s expensive for local buyers.
He pointed out that up to date neither the company nor the VDCs of the communities of Kaur have disclosed to the communities how much the company will be paying into the accounts of the villagers, whether environmental impact assessment has been conducted and what types of minerals are been mined at the site, arguing that any agreement entered into without the consent of the villagers is null and void. He cautioned Fajara Mining Company to stop enticing the VDCs of Kaur with their handout meant to win the heart and minds of the people of Kaur, revealing that the company recently donated a milling machine and sets of football jerseys meant to gain total approval from the villagers.