Mines and Mineral Resources Minister Inspires Njala University
Njala University, 30th May 2021- The Honourable Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources Timothy Kabba has inspired Njala University to leapfrog and contribute meaningfully to the efficient management of the country’s mineral resources.
The Minister led a delegation to Njala University on Friday 28th May 2021 to officially hand over computer equipment worth USD 70 thousand towards the creation of a GIS laboratory for the Institute of Geography and Development Studies (IGDS) in the School of Environmental Sciences.
The support to the Institute is to enable it to take an active part in policy decision-making in the mineral sector informed by research findings.
The Dean of the Environmental Sciences School, Dr. Victor Kabba expressed his happiness that his dream of having a GIS laboratory for his students has finally come true.
He thanked the Minister and further requested that this was a good start but that the sum of $150 thousand USD is what is actually required to set up a full-fledged GIS Laboratory.
He encouraged the Minister to collaborate with his School and others to help inform policy decision making in the Mineral sector and praised him for launching the Geophysical survey data which according to him should be utilized for the intended purposes.
Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Njala Campus Professor Alieu Mohamed Bah welcomed the Minister on behalf of the Administration and noted that the donation is timely.
He went further to request the Minister to extend his support to other schools within the University that are also in dire need of support.
Professor Bah emphasized that they at the University had always prevailed on Government to allocate some percentage of the proceeds from the country’s mineral sector to the University to support research activities.
He cited Moyamba District where the University is located and disclosed that quite a number of the surrounding communities are affected by mining-related diseases as a result of the activities of multi-national companies like Sierra rutile and Vimetco who have large mining concessions in these communities.
We as academics should be able to dig up the root causes for such mining-related illness through research, Professor noted.
Responding Minister Timothy challenged the School of Environmental Sciences to grab the opportunity of developing Environmental and Social Impact Assessment reports for companies operating in the country as this according to him is a key requirement for them to operate in the country as per the Environmental Protection Agency Act of Sierra Leone.
He expressed his disappointment that students who graduate from Njala University are making fabulous monies from the development of ESIAs for mining companies while the University is languishing with a lack of resources to conduct Community Service, Research, Teaching, and Learning.
Minister Timothy hinted that rogue consultants and private individuals are doing fake and unrealistic ESIAs that are not in tune with the realities in mining communities and that Njala University due to its location and purpose for its establishment should be able to seize the opportunity and sanitize the sector and also contribute to the policy proposal.
He assured the University that his Ministry would fully collaborate moving on with Njala University with a view to having the University’s input into the transformational agenda in the sector.
I would henceforth lure private sector players and new entrants into the sector to make use of the expertly at Njala University in their daily operations, Minister Kabba noted.
Director ICT, Thomas Phillip Songu who served as the anchor of the ceremony assured the Minister that his Department would provide the requisite support to the newly established GIS laboratory.
The climax of the ceremony was a tour of the newly established GIS lab by the Minister and his team and members of the Administration led by the Acting DVC, Professor Bah.
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