October 16, 2019
According to a recent report titled “Sierra Leone Minerals Sector, launched yesterday by National Advocacy Coalition on Extractive (NACE), Artisanal Mining (AM) activities continue to provide livelihood support to an estimated 300,000 Sierra Leoneans, despite the illegal activities associated with it.
The report, which was launched together with a newsletter at the conference hall of the Mines and Minerals Ministry, notes among other things that, illicit mining was still widespread and the guidelines and distinction between artisanal and small-scale mining remain vague, thus adding that the inception of small Chinese operators using highly efficient small scale has made the sector becomes even more challenging.
“Hence artisanal mining and its related activities continue to provide livelihood support to an estimated 300,000 Sierra Leoneans. On the other hand, the nature of artisanal mining operating in remote locations tends to keep their activities outside the law and allowing thus illegal activities including human rights violations,” the report notes.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Foday Rado Yokie said the government of President Bio wants to change the narrative in the industry, as over the years people have benefited nothing from the extractive industry.
He said in the last two years, the mining sector contributed only 4% to the GDP, which he said was very minimal as compared to fishery which contributed far more than the mining sector.
“The mining sector has only benefited individuals and not the people.We are changing that narrative, the people should benefit. It is the wealth of the people and not individuals,” he said.
He assured the gathering that the report and the news letter would not take dust on the shelves in offices, but that they would be used for policy improvement and to inform the current review of the Mines and Minerals Act of 2009.
“Let me announce that these reports will be part of the documents my ministry will forward to the Attorney General’s Office as part of our drafting instruction bundles for the drafting of a new Mines and Minerals Development Act,” he said.
He reiterated commitment to continue constructive engagement with civil society organizations working on extractives.
Earlier, the chairman of the occasion, Mustapha Olajiday Thomas (PhD), said NACE has remained the authentic voice in promoting good governance in the extractive sector of minerals, oil and gas, not only in Sierra Leone but the world at large.
He stated that the report provides an accurate and graphic illustration of the issues that have characterized Sierra Leone mineral’s since mining commenced in the 1930s.
“The report is a must read for mining companies, mining professionals, policy analyst, and the civil society,” he stated.