MURRAYVILLE, Sinoe â€“ Following nearly six months of feasibility studies and negotiations, the township of Murrayville, located in Butaw Administrative District and Sinoeâ€™s first electoral district, has signed a five-year agreement with the Asia Development and Investment Company. The agreement allows the firm to explore for black sand and other minerals.
The agreement also requires the company to rehabilitate all access or haul roads connecting the mining site to other major roads and highways in the county, especially those within the district. In its hiring and personnel decisions, the company will also prioritize Murrayvilleâ€™s citizens.
The company has agreed to provide academic and instructional materials to schools in the areas, as well as to compensate residents whose farmlands or crops would be impacted by mining operations. Additionally, the company will provide a monthly allotment of 50 gallons of fuel oil to at least one health facility or clinic in the county.
The signing ceremony took place in Tiabateah Town, lower Murrayville Township, at the Butaw Administrative District offices.
Speaking in an interview with reporters at the end of the signing ceremony, Massaquoi Roberts, the community development chair of the township, outlined these and other key provisions of the agreement, including the establishment of a scholarship program to enhance learning opportunities in the county.
In order to reap these benefits, Roberts reminded his fellow citizens that it would be their responsibility â€“ and the countyâ€™s at large â€“ to protect the companyâ€™s investment and operations.
â€œAfter reviewing the Memorandum of Understanding, we the citizens of this township unanimously agree and accept for the company to operate in our community,â€ Massaquoi said.
The Asia Development and Investment Company has already received a Class B mining license from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, which specifies its area of operations and the allowable minerals to be mined.
Representing the company during the signing of the agreement, Nguyen Thanh Truc, the president and CEO, expressed his companyâ€™s delight to be working in the county and assured the county of his commitment to following all the legal steps needed for operations.
â€œWe as a company are very happy with the level of reception coming from the people of Murrayville and Sinoe as a whole,â€ the companyâ€™s CEO said. â€œAnd we can assure the county that we will do everything possible to work in line with the agreement signed.â€
Nguyen also expressed the need for peaceful co-existence between his company and the people of the township, as the only sure means of achieving their shared dreams. He encouraged residents to respect the terms of the agreement and to seek peaceful resolution whenever issues of differences arise.
Representing womenâ€™s groups during the signing event was Beatrice Nyenkan, who chairs the townshipâ€™s women caucus. Nyenkan welcomed the company on behalf of the community and was hopeful that the companyâ€™s activities would help boost womenâ€™s empowerment in the township and beyond.
â€œFor so long we have been suffering in terms of development and job opportunity. But seeing the company coming in our town will help to reduce some of the challenges we are going through on a daily basis in terms of basic needs,â€ she told The Bush Chicken.
Speaking on behalf of the Chiefs and Elders Council of the township was John Smith, who said, â€œFor everything, there is a time and a season, and as such, this is the time for the Murrayville people to benefit from a social development [project].â€
Smith called on all citizens in Sinoe to help protect the interests of both the company and the community.
For his part, Sinoeâ€™s county superintendent, Lee Nagbe Chea, expressed gratitude to the company and the people of Murrayville for finally concluding the agreement after nearly six months of negotiations. He called upon the parties to maintain peace and work together to fulfill the agreement.
â€œDevelopment takes time to come, and as such, it is important for you, our people, to protect it,â€ Chea said. However, he cautioned citizens to not hesitate to speak up on disagreements with the company: â€œI am not saying you should remain silent when issues come up.â€
Featured photo by Teahwleh Clarke Geeplay