May 10, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The gains to be derived from the mining sector are huge. To derive such gains will no doubt involved the viable management of the sector, including improving the overall governance, starting with establishing the legal and policy frameworks,” says Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh.
Officially launching three mineral sector policies; Sierra Leone Minerals Policy, Artisanal Policy and Geo-Data Management Policy at the Bintumani Conference hall in Freetown, the Vice President stressed the importance the ‘New Direction’ government attached to improving the governance and management of the minerals sector.
He stated that although it is not a secret that Sierra Leone is well known for its reach minerals endowment, the country is yet to derive the full benefits for those minerals.
He said the mineral sector has been marred by bad governance, and chaotic management over the decade, adding that the driving force behind the government commitment is geared essential towards ensuring that the country’s mineral endowment were sufficiently harnessed in a way that will spur social and economic development, as well as producing real benefits to the country, investors and mining communities.
“We are confident that these three mineral sector policies will no doubt set the stage for where we want to go and how to get there. These policies set out a clear framework through which government will manage this sector to ensure that it drives economic transformation, growth and development in this country,” he said.
According to Vice President Jalloh, the policies seek to strengthen the linkages between the mineral sector and other sectors, enhance diversification and bring back competitively in the sector, including providing opportunities for employment.
He noted that the mineral sector policies will also create the condition for environmental safeguards and contribute to local economic activities and improve rural livelihoods.
The vice president maintained that the policies present a comprehensive pathway to a promising prospect on improve governance of the sector as according to him, through the adoption of those policies, Sierra Leone will be in full compliance of the principles of the African Mining Vision.
“It is evident that there are huge potentials in our diverse extractive resource wealth; derive economic growth and sustainable development in this country. We understand that transforming extractive resource wealth under tangible development can only be achieved through deliberate and targeted decision making processes, that take into account sustainable exploitation of the extractive resources in ways that mitigate adverse environmental and social effect,” he stated.
Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Dr. Morie Manyeh underscored the gaps in the Mines and Minerals Act, which is why they have put together the mineral sector policies.
“The policies may not provide all the answers but will go a long way in narrowing the gaps that existed in the mining sector. These policies will help in revising or replacing the current mining act. The policies look at minerals and mining activities as it is being going presently in the country,” he said.
He stated that certainly the country’s minerals, especially in Kono, have been a cuss but expressed hope the policy documents will put the nation on the right path towards a cure for the many problems facing the sector.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Mines and Mineral Resources, Hon. Emerson Lamina said: “I am happy and honoured to be part of this epoch making launch of three policies. It shows a clear line that the mining sector in Sierra Leone is about to do well. The policies are most comprehensive since the birth of diamonds in 1930.”
He said a review of the minerals rights and agreements in order to secure optimal benefits to the country’s exploitation of it mineral resources is a laudable venture as part of the government commitment.