The Management of Solway Mining Incorporated has called on its supporters and well-wishers to remain calm as the company is currently in serious discussions with the government over the signing of a Mineral Development Agreement (MDA).
The company has been expressing some glitches in acquiring an MDA with the government since it, through exploration, discovered iron ores in commercial quantities in the combined 222 hectares of montane, muggy forestlands in the Gbehley-Geh, Yarmein, and Sehyi districts of Nimba County.
The company discovered the valuable mineral in commercial quantities after three years of prospecting and has been locked in talks with the government over sealing of an MDA that would allow it to mine in Mount Blei and Mount Delton ores deposit.
The communities, however, feel that it is taking too long for an agreement to be reached.
Some have since accused the government of reportedly delaying to grant the company the right to begin mining in the area, a move that has infuriated stakeholders both in the county and elsewhere.
“It is high time that the government listens to us as the communities and grants Solway the MDA. We know what the company is doing for our people” Sam Yealue, Statutory Sup, Gbehley-Geh Administrative District, said. “We want to call on the House of Representatives and the Senate to act in the interest of our people.”
He assured the people that he and other stakeholders of the county will pressure the government to do the right thing. “We want Solway here and the government should make sure that the interests of its citizens are granted.
Yealue was buttressed by former Nimba County superintendent, D. Dorr Cooper, who said, “The happiness of our people is our concern. Once the company is making our people happy, then there is no need to delay its operations. We want our government to act now.”
It is due to the outpouring of this immense support that Solway has called for calm, noting that there is no need for its supporters and well-wishers to be jittery as the company is working with the government in a cordial way for the right things to be done.
“SOLWAY appreciates all the concerns and support from all its sympathizers, well-wishers, the affected communities, and Nimba county,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. “At this stage of the process, the company and the government of Liberia are in serious discussions concerning the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA), and this stage takes time and involves a whole lot of process.”
Solway noted, “We are kindly asking all the above-mentioned parties to remain calm and patient as the government is handling the process along with the company to make sure all Liberian investors’ interests are met.” “We are asking all our sympathizers to please reach out to the CEO and senior management with all their concerns, we will not appreciate statements or press releases that are not sanctioned and signed by the CEO.”
The MDA process, the company said, takes time. “The CEO of the company and government are in such a conversation, we will appreciate all to be patient and trust the ability of the Management in handling all information for public consumption,” he said.
“We believe and expect that the government is doing all in its power to protect the interest of Liberian investors, and only statements signed by the Management will be considered as the official position of the company.”
Meanwhile, stakeholders in the county, eminent citizens, and other residents at a ceremony recently held in Zortapa, Sanniquellie Mah statutory district, in an official endorsement, gave the company the go-ahead to enter their forests—pledging their unflinching support to its operations.
The endorsement ceremony also coincided with an honoring ceremony for Solway’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), A. Boima Morgan.
The residents said the company has proven to be a reliable partner, hence the need for a longer collaboration that would help bring the needy developmental initiatives to their areas — communities that lag behind in basic necessities — modern educational, health, and other amenities that are intended for a good life, despite the vast natural resources that abound.
“It is the will of our people that we allow you to come and operate here,” said a former and two current Paramount Chiefs of the three statutory districts, Cooper Saye Walaka, Alvin Flomo, and Joseph Yormie, in separate remarks to the thunderous applause of approval from the crowd. They spoke through an interpreter.
“We are satisfied with your operations and the way you have been interacting with us. We have realized what an invaluable asset Solway is to us and so we want the company to operate here,” one of the elderly men said.
Reported by: William Q. Harmon