An unclaimed container pampers stuffed with white substance believe to be cocaine has found its way into Sierra Leone Ports. Officials from the Office of National Security (ONS) and personnel from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) including UN officials stormed the Queen Elizabeth II Quay as early as 8am last Thursday in a bid to track down the container in question.
According to sources, the security apparatus got a wind of the container and its contents through the internet and other additional sources from South America and they wasted no time to act upon the intelligence they had received.
The blue container was fished out among the many containers on board Grimaldi ship and was later escorted to the scanning department, where it was finally discovered to be loaded with illicit materials. The container was also later discharged in one of the silos down the port.
Apparently, there was nothing to prove as to whether the container contained anything illegal when the officers started the off loading its contents as the front layers were dominated by baby pampers. However, things took a drastic twists when the container was almost off loaded, it was then they discovered that the rest of baby pampers have been stuffed with cocaine.
This drew the attention of on-lookers and the other security personnel. The container is still at the port as we go to press with nobody to claim ownership.
Many Sierra Leoneans are now wondering why the drugs traffickers have decide to use the sea after exhausting the Lungi International Airport.Many also blamed the police for failing to surveillance the container and owner until it reaches its destination.
”Our mother land, Mama Salone and Sweet Salone” are the variouse phrases people commonly use on daily basis, especially the under previledge population country wide. But if we want to critically look at the above phrases is Sierra Leone deserve all the names given to her? If yes who are the one Sierra Leone is proving all the opportunities for? Most of the people who normally refers to Sierra Leone as his her mother lands, mama and sweet Salone can only do so because they see other people referring to the country as mother land, mama and sweet. Really, the country deserve all the above names and qualities for people who are in governance, their family members, friends and kings men. If you belong to any one of these categories, then Sierra Leone can be motherland, mama and sweet to you. If you are doing business and belong to a politician, tax can not be tides in your business environment, you can always have tax free environment that will enable you to refer to you Sierra Leone as mother land, mama Salome and sweet Salone. This particular nepotism, favoritism, which is found in every conner of Sierra Leone has direct link to the above names.If we consider those who do not have any political bearing, their living standard, level of interaction as it is in the ”Al ja zeera documentary African Investigate” where one of the characters in the clip said in Sierra Leone money speaks, and if you don’t have money, you don’t talk. So who can talk for those who do not have money? Are they part of the doms and deafs in the country? This is a question I can not answer.
Medieval alchemists did find that dissolving the vapor from burning phosphorous in water produced a powerful solution of what we now call “acid” (in this case phosphoric acid)that could corrode base metals and dissolve some types of stone. Nineteenth Century research showed that many natural solid materials were in fact “phosphates” created by the ancient reaction of chemical elements with phosphoric acids.
It is unlikely that anyone before the 19th Century would have imagined just how critically important natural deposits of phosphate rock would become to the health and survival of mankind.
In a nightmarish, yet disturbingly plausible, scenario: a nation finds its supply of an essential commodity to be depleted. Without this element, its citizenry’s very lives are threatened. Suppliers of this commodity, aware of their influence, opt to band together as a cartel in order to control pricing and distribution of this essential commodity, leaving the rest of the world vulnerable to price and supply shocks.
While this may sound like the situation around oil, or perhaps even fresh water if some projections are to be believed, this same scenario could conceivably play out around an element without which large-scale, productive agricultural activity is all but impossible: phosphorus, the key ingredient in phosphate fertilizers. Just as those who profited most from the 19th Century California Gold Rush were those who supplied the essential tools for mining (picks, shovels, wheelbarrows, rolling stock, canvas and donkeys), so also are those who control the supply of crucial inputs for mass agriculture like phosphate very much poised to profit.
Already, the United States has long since passed the point at which it produces a surplus of this crucial material economically, and is increasingly reliant on imported phosphates in order to remain the breadbasket to the world. This during a time when continued population growth and rising standards of living around the globe will require steady increases in the production of basic crops like corn and wheat to feed both people and livestock.
While phosphorus is relatively abundant in other parts of the world, the political security of this supply is somewhat lacking – indeed, the top exporter, Morocco, recently had to cease production for three months due to civil turmoil. With so much production concentrated in a relatively small part of the world, additional investment is needed to mitigate the risk of supply disruptions by broadening the geographic distribution of the supply base.
The main source of phosphorus is phosphate rock, which is mined in several locations around the globe. This rock is found in two types of deposits, sedimentary and igneous. The vast majority – some 90% – of deposits are sedimentary, and contain contaminants such as uranium, thorium and cadmium that must be separated during processing. These sedimentary deposits start with a relatively high concentration of phosphate but can only be processed to about 32% end-use concentrate. In contrast, the much rarer and comparatively “cleaner” igneous deposits start with a lower grade in the ground but can be concentrated up to 40%. Because it is easier to separate and treat igneous deposits, it is possible to recover more than 90% of the total phosphate from these sources, while a recovery rate of around 80% of the total is the maximum for sedimentary deposits.
The rock is processed in order to extract the phosphorus values as phosphate,. For agricultural use, there is no known substitute for phosphorous.
In declining order of 2010 mine production, the largest producers of phosphate rock are China, the United States, Morocco, Russia, Tunisia, Jordan, Brazil and Egypt. Neither China nor the US export this material.
Morocco in North Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, already accounts for more than one-third of the world’s entire phosphate exports, and has larger reserves than the rest of the world combined. But like Tunisia and Egypt, which border the Mediterranean Sea east of Morocco, and which have seen their governments toppled and businesses and exports slowed, Morocco has experienced considerable civil turmoil recently, including riots specifically targeting phosphorous mining operations. Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco have all seen their phosphate supplies hindered by civil unrest. In the wake of escalating violence in Morocco, including a late April suicide terror bombing in Marrakesh, do we have any guarantee that the long-standing friendship and trade relations between the US and Morocco will continue if the monarchy is overthrown?
In the case of the takeover of the Moroccan government by elements hostile to the US how would we replace our imports of phosphate from Morocco in a world where the production of food has become politicized? Some political analysts in fact attribute the overthrow of the Egyptian, Yemeni and soon, Libyan regimes to unrest over uncontrolled price increases for food in those countries.
Phosphorus and its most common, oxidized form, phosphate, is essential to the manufacture of a range of products – steel electroplating, toothpaste, detergents and even soft drinks. It is a nutrient that is vital to all life, which accounts for its use in animal feed supplements, vitamin supplements for humans and fertilizers. Life as we have come to know it literally relies upon the mining, processing and use of phosphorus mainly as phosphate.
Since the mid-19th Century, phosphate has been used in fertilizers to promote plant growth and increase crop yields. Nearly 90% of all phosphate used worldwide today goes into fertilizers, typically in combination with nitrogen and potassium. The first modern agricultural revolution in fact occurred when it was discovered how to “fix” atmospheric nitrogen into a useful form (ammonium salts) for use as fertilizer, thus eliminating the need for natural materials such as bird droppings and guano, which by the end of the 19th Century were highly valued due to their use in manufacturing gunpowder as well as fertilizers.
Basic demographic forces ensure that the demand for phosphate will only grow moving forward. There are currently more than 6.9 billion people on earth, and 140 million babies are born each year. Life spans are increasing. Population growth is rapid, especially in the developing world. By 2015, UN estimates project that there will be an additional 400 million people, and that by 2020 global population will approach 7.7 billion as part of a steady growth trajectory that is expected to top 9 billion by 2050. More mouths to feed will require increased food production.
Feeding this growing population will not be as simple a task as increasing agricultural output by the same rate that the population is increasing, as standards of living are also rapidly advancing throughout the developing world. A greater percentage of crops will be used to feed livestock as those in the growing global middle class of consumers increase the percentage of meat and poultry in their diet. Because significant caloric energy is lost in the movement up the food chain from grains to meat, much more of the former will need to be produced to provide the latter, which will drive increased demand growth for phosphate-rich fertilizer around the globe.
As mentioned above, a recent study by the International Monetary Fund notes a direct linkage between increasing food prices and instances of political unrest in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan and Yemen. Over the period of 1970 through 2007, a mere 10% increase in international food prices was found to correspond with a doubling of antigovernment protests in low-income countries. Could continued rapid price escalation lead to similar unrest in the developed world? The pressure is on everywhere to maximize agricultural output to hedge against such possibilities.
Several other factors are also feeding into the demand situation for phosphate. The proportion of arable land to living and manufacturing and energy production space continues to fall, requiring increased crop yields that have been slow to come. The increased production of biofuels ranging from ethanol to biodiesel is also pitting food against energy in a potentially vicious competition.
A Threatened Supply
To be clear, there is not at present a shortage of phosphate, and the global supply is believed to be large enough to meet several hundred years of demand at the current rate of use. The concerns are around the anticipated rapid growth in demand for the substance, the very criticality of the fertilizer supply as an input to food production and the fact that so much of the world’s phosphate reserves are in so few hands. Indeed, just as OPEC controls three-fourths of the world’s oil reserves, some 90% of the world’s mined phosphate is in the hands of five countries – China, Jordan, Morocco, South Africa and the US.
The US is no longer self-sufficient in phosphate production; it no longer produces enough to supply its own domestic agribusinesses, and one recent report speculates that at the current rate of production and with the anti-mining bias of environmental activists the country could exhaust its accessible and currently worked reserves in as little as 15 years.
Thus, the North American domestic supply of phosphorus is dwindling rapidly. Until 2003, the United States was an exporter of this substance. Now, Morocco supplies nearly 10% of the phosphate rock used in the US. A major American mine, Mosaic’s property in South Fort Meade, Florida, may be shuttered due to lawsuits related to its environmental impact, which would take several million tonnes of the country’s phosphate rock production offline. In Canada, the Kapuskasing (Ontario) mine owned by Agrium that produces around 1.5 million tonnes of phosphate rock annually is known to be nearly depleted, with only a few years of reserves remaining in the ground.
Phosphate Production and Consumption Projections (Millions of Tonnes)
|Production (in mt)||Consumption (in mt)|
Source: British Sulfur Consultants, Phosphate Rock, 10 Year Outlook Report. Growth based on 2010-2017 annual growth rate
The United States and Canada are agricultural powerhouses – and as such, each is highly dependent on phosphate-laden fertilizer. Canada is the world’s leading supplier of rapeseed, from which canola oil is made, the fifth-largest producer of wheat and a top ten producer of turkey meat, soybeans and beef. The United States is the top producer of corn, soybeans, cow’s milk, beef, chicken and turkey meat and a top-three producer of tomatoes, lettuce, pig meat, oranges, cherries, eggs and wheat. While beer and wine are more often associated with Germany and Italy, respectively, the US is the second leading producer of hops and the third largest grape grower. Corn and wheat are particularly phosphate-intensive crops. Any circumstances that threaten the supply of phosphate to North America will bring severe ramifications to its citizens as well as the many countries that rely on imports of North American agricultural products!
As everyone has noticed, food costs are rising even ahead of mass awareness of the phosphate supply-and-demand situation – price increases that are driven in part by increasing fertilizer costs. As of mid-February 2011, wheat prices had more than doubled over the course of a year. Corn was up 87%, soybeans 59% and sugar 22%. These increases are almost certain to continue. “I think you’ve got plenty of people all over the world worried about food supply,” noted investment guru James Dines. “When you’re [constantly adding to the monetary supply] you have more paper chasing each bushel of wheat, corn and each pound of sugar so prices are going up…So we’re in [a] super major bull market in food and that’s what’s beginning to sink in on the world.”
I think that Dines is correct.
Companies to Consider
With this crunch in supply comes an opportunity to profitably invest in North American-based companies that are developing potential new sources of phosphate rock. A few to consider include Canadian junior miners PhosCan, Stonegate and Arianne, each of which will trade at a premium as the US dollar continues to depreciate against the Canadian currency.
Toronto-based PhosCan Chemical Corp. (FOS.TO) is the sole owner of the Martison Phosphate Project, an igneous deposit located in Hearst, Ontario, that may have as much as 120 million tonnes of phosphate rock. The company’s current intent is to beneficiate the rock at the open-pit mining site and then divert the product through a 44-mile slurry pipeline to a rail head that would then transport it to Agrium’s phosacid plant in Beamer, Alberta. Martison will also produce niobium – which is used in the production of high-strength, low-alloy steels – as a byproduct, with the potential to also produce some rare earth elements. The sheer volume of material processed in such operations gives rise to the opportunity to profitably produce some rare metals that are present in concentrations, too low to be economical as primary products. PhosCan has been publicly traded for several years and has a fully diluted market capitalization of approximately $94 million.
Stonegate Agricom Limited (ST.TO), also based in Toronto, has a pair of phosphate projects under development. Located approximately 150 miles east of Lima, Peru, the Mantaro Phosphate Property is located near the city of Huancayo in Peru’s Junin District. The measured and indicated deposits of phosphate rock in the property’s west zone are just short of 40 million tonnes, with an additional 376 million tonnes inferred. There may also be approximately 700 million more tonnes in the eastern portion of the property, which links to both Lima and the coastal city of Callao via highway and rail. Stonegate’s Paris Hills Project is in Idaho, near the center of the most extensive phosphorite beds in the US. Paris Hills has inferred mineral resources of just under 120 million tonnes of phosphate rock. Rail service is available less than 15 miles from the site. Stonegate Agricom went public in late 2010 and has a fully diluted market capitalization of approximately $240 million.
With its well-situated Lac à Paul Phosphate Project in Quebec, which has easy access to road, rail and a deep water seaport as well as a ready supply of hydroelectricity and water for beneficiation, Arianne Resources (TSXV: DAN.V) has an igneous deposit of 78 million indicated and 260 million inferred tonnes of phosphate rock with a potential mine life of more than 25 years. Due to its proximity to transportation, the company estimates that phosphate rock from Lac à Paul can be shipped for as little as $75 per ton – a price that offshore sources cannot approach. As an added bonus, the Lac à Paul Phosphate deposit also contains titanium reserves as a byproduct that could increase the total value of the project by some 20% to 40%.
Because it has a fully diluted market capitalization of around $116 million, Arianne could well be a takeover target for a larger producer like Agrium, which has a phosphoric acid plant that will be idled when Kapuskasing runs out of phosphate rock in a few short years, or Mosaic. Relative to its peers – Stonegate, Phoscan and MBAC – shares of Arianne are severely undervalued based on project economics, resource size, location and other factors. Due to super-clean and high-concentrate shipped/finished ore, Arianne’s production will command a premium price. The time to strike on Arianne is now, before the drill uses its power as a “truth machine” to drive shares significantly higher.
Final Thoughts on Phosphate
It is generally estimated that the typical person can go no more than three minutes without air, three days without water and three weeks without food. Food production requires fertilizer, with phosphate as the critical component – without phosphate fertilizer there is no way for food production growth globally to keep up with the growth of the world’s population; it’s as simple as that.
A secure supply of this substance is essential to America’s future well being – as well as the many other of the world’s people who depend on this nation’s farming output. Yet the story around phosphate remains under told, much as the North American companies specializing in its extraction are currently under appreciated. An investment in a quality phosphate junior miner is worth a much closer look.
The technology metals, base metals and precious metals that currently command such a significant percentage of investors’ dollars won’t be of much use to people who do not have enough to eat.
Jack Lifton is a leading authority on the sourcing and end use trends of rare and strategic metals. He is a founding principal of Technology Metals Research LLC and president of Jack Lifton LLC, consulting for institutional investors doing due diligence on metal- and material-related opportunities.
In Sierra Leone, the issue of youth employment had long been a major problem affecting the socio-economic and political development of the country, and it is an issue of general debate amongst Civil Societies, Local and International Non Governmental Organizations and the Government of Sierra Leone. The rate of youth unemployment in Sierra Leone, according to some school of thoughts is about 60% country wide. This problem has been and still creating serious threat to the hard won peace we have all paid for.
Firstly, one of the problems of youth employment is the issue of putting proper structure in place, such as Institution firms, factories, companies to name but few, which if put in place would minimize the rate of crime among the youth population in Sierra Leone.
If one can look at the present educational system in Sierra Leone, which is the 6334 meaning six years in Primary School, three years Junior Secondary School, three years in Senior Secondary School and four years in University was implemented by the past Government as a way of creating a particular system of education that would cater for all youths category. But if we can closely look at the said system, it lacks all the structures through which youths would have used to go through proper training that would enable them to gain employment. The system was called for the establishment and implementation of technical vocational in the various school system to be able to train other youths that lack the ability to go through the former educational system thus it lacks the structure of youths employment. The said system has left many youths in the street passing without any job. Most of these youths are engaged in picking things from the garbage, criminal activities and the use of drugs.
Another major issue of youths unemployment is qualification set up by companies, such as previous working experience as a criteria set by employers, such as what they called five or more years working experience. To be realistic, how someone can gain five or more years working experience without allowing the person to work. If premium is placed on past experience to gain job, young graduate from Universities, Poly-techniques, Colleges and even Institutes would not apply for such jobs, which as a result would create room for these youths to end up in circle of violence, crime and drugs abuse and excess that will pose threat to the socio-economic and political development of Sierra Leone.
Again, there is another strong stumble block to the youth employment in Sierra Leone, which is what we called ‘’SABABU’’. This is a common social term used among all Sierra Leoneans in search of employment and other assistance that may arise on daily basis, which means ‘’INFLUENCE’’. Most times even if somebody is qualify for a particular job pr position, but that person has no SABABU would not be awarded with the job or position. This issue of SABABU had played and still playing a hold back to the youth’s employment scheme, and many young energetic youths out there are unemployed.
The consequences surrounding this whole issue of youths employment has caused a great harm on the future of the country if not address. Presently, there are youths who are qualified, but do not have the stipulated years of working experience are out of jobs can be mostly found in odd places engage in taking harmful drugs and alcohol abuse. Also, many of these unemployed youths are can be found in the ghettos wasting their time and potentials.
Sierra Leone Ghetto Perspectives – 2nd Series
All over the world, youths are said to be the center of attention of development strives; in terms of policy declarations made by all Government officials, the International Committee, Non Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations.
In Sierra Leone the story is just the same, the Government and many other institutions have been and are still fighting tooth and nail to create mainstream environment within the society for the most destitute group of the nation’s 40% population composition (the youth population).
Like any other post conflict nation, Sierra Leone has numerous youth’s problems; ranging from poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, lack of housing facilities etc. But how much effort is been put into solving the numerous youth problems in Sierra Leone is a topic that requires some serious discussions, which this medium is highly interested in searching for information in the form of survey or research.
From the look of things, there is still much to be done in order to create mainstream environment for the promising youths of the lion mountain (Sierra Leone), but who should take the greatest blame for the present unpardonable conditions surrounding the youth’s population in Sierra Leone?
As our reporter came in contact with some of the youths in the city’s ghettos, he realized that majority of the youths still blame the government for their mishaps. “We were used to fight during the past eleven years civil war, we helped to change the government but today no one cares for us”, A youth commented. “In fact we were cheated from getting the disarmament and demobilization benefits” another comment by another youth who lamented to underline his friend’s claim.
As our reporter continued to probe, some elderly citizens blamed the attitudes of the youths as a storming block to their development while others talk of lack of sustainable youth development programs.
“Religion is not a tool for conflict in Sierra Leone,” Said a student who is studying Conflict Analysis at the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.
According to the student, the people of Sierra Leone are very much religiously tolerant if compare to other part of the world, for example Nigeria where religious violence is common. In Sierra Leone, religion is being treated as an institution where people can make friends and other social connectivity. That is, there are series of several inter- marriages between people of diverse family religious background. Where in, you can see Muslim married to Christian and both of them keep their religion. Children from Muslim background can attend Christian school without any problem. In terms of funeral, it is common to see Christian sympathizing with Muslim. Interestingly, religious holidays are observed with Horner; by all and sundry without any conflict on the basis of religious belief.
The country is comprises of Chritmus, this is a term that can best describe the way Sierra Leonean are religiously tolerance with each other. The term Christmus is where Muslims can easily accept people from other religious back grounds, such as Christian and more. There is an organization called inter religious council, that is comprises of both Muslims and Christian, where they can meet and discuss ways as to how to continue with the good relationship amongst different religions especially Christian.
Even the African Traditional Religions share the blessing of religious tolerance of Sierra Leoneans. This is manifested by the numerous public traditional rituals that go uninterrupted. In Sierra Leone, nobody seems to care about religious deference; but as the saying goes “there is hardly a white space without a highlighted spot”.
“Off course, with all the hand lifted flag been fled; displaying religious tolerance in mother Sierra Leone there is still room for improvement” .says a woman whose daughter was turned down by her fiancé, on the eve of their marriage.
According to the view of most people contacted on this subject before going to press, there has been one or two incidence of religious misunderstandings but this has never claim live as it is in the case of our friends in Nigeria.
The Beginning of Bad politics in Africa
17 Apr 2011
Reports monitored from Fourah Bay College (FBC), University of Sierra Leone, indicate that former President of the recently dissolved Students Union government of the college, Alfred Minkailu Koroma (Jnr.), was mercilessly beaten to coma in the evening hours of Wednesday 13th April 2011 by unknown people. It remains unclear whether or [...]
No Justice for Youths in Sierra Leone
17 Mar 2011
“In today’s Independent magazine: a shocking article on the child inmates at Pademba Road prison,” a text message from Ade Daramy read. I had just woken up, switched on my mobile phone when this message came through. Ade, a very good friend of mine, always forwards numerous articles by email, often [...]
Youth unemployment and its consequences
28 Nov 2010
In Sierra Leone, the issue of youth employment had long been a major problem affecting the socio-economic and political development of the country, and it is an issue of general debate amongst Civil Societies, Local and International Non Governmental Organizations and the Government of Sierra Leone. The rate of youth [...]
Sierra Leone Ghetto Perspectives (2)
27 Nov 2010
Sierra Leone Ghetto Perspectives – 2nd Series All over the world, youths are said to be the center of attention of development strives; in terms of policy declarations made by all Government officials, the International Committee, Non Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations. In Sierra Leone the story is just [...]
FBC (U/SL) Students Convocate
12 Nov 2010
As the end of the year approaches the Fourah Bay College (F.B.C.), and other constituent colleges of the University of Sierra Leone, will be graduating their hopeful and ambitious students about a month from now. The college, F.B.C., is one of the oldest universities in Africa that has to a [...]
Taia Lion Resources Retains Javelin Partners as Corporate Development Advisors
20 Apr 2011
Taia Lion Resources Retains Javelin Partners as Corporate Development Advisors New York, New York (JAVELIN – April 20, 2011) — Taia Lion Resources Inc (the “Company” or “TLR”) is pleased to announce the commencement of a 12 month engagement wherein Javelin Corporate Development Partners Inc. (“Javelin” or “Javelin Partners”) will [...]
6 Mar 2011
Technical Sub-Comittee present report to President Koroma on escalation of prices
Coopi intensifies support to Food Security in Sierra Leone
19 Nov 2010
Coopi intensifies support to Food Security in Sierra Leone An Italian International Organization –Cooperation Internazionel (Coopi) has intensified it support to the tieless effort of the government in ensuring food security for the people of Sierra Leone; by distributing agricultural tools and organic fertilizer to subsistence farmers in the Urban [...]