November 28, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai
The World Bank Country Manager, Parminder Brar, has disclosed that the Bank Group has approved US$20 million International Development Association (IDA) grant to support Sierra Leone’s mining sector.
Mr. Brar, who was speaking yesterday at the Bank’s offices in Freetown, said the grant was the second phase of the Extractive Industries Technical Assistance Project (EITAP 2) which aims at strengthening governance, increase geological knowledge, and support to the artisanal mining sector in the country.
“Under the EITAP 1, which started in 2009 and ended in 2016, Sierra Leone laid the foundation for improved governance in the mining sector. It supported new legislation, institutions, capacity building and increased transparency. These attracted new investments to the sector, allowing its revenue and associated activities to make significant contributions to the country’s economic growth,” he said.
Brar noted that among the most important achievements was support provided for the creation of the National Minerals Agency (NMA), the sector’s regulatory and survey institution.
He said the objective of the follow-up project was to build on improvements to mineral sector governance by strengthening the legal and regulatory frameworks and supporting the implementation of recently updated Minerals Policy and Artisanal Mining Policy, incorporating the principles of the African Mining Vision (AMV) adopted by African Heads of State in 2009.
“This project will enhance geological knowledge, including building Sierra Leone’s geological infrastructure by supporting the government to conduct an airborne geophysical survey of the whole country as well as complete the coverage of geological maps of Sierra Leone,” he added.
According to him, the EITAP 2 would also strengthen the Geo-data Information Management System (GIMS), with the expected outcome being to provide basic and reliable geological information to facilitate the promotion of private investments in the mining sector, identify areas that may be reserved and to support the planning of the socio-economic development of the country.
“The country currently does not have a proper inventory of geological data or a modern survey map that is essential for a modern minerals sector. The airborne survey will help provide basic and reliable geological information necessary to improve knowledge about the country’s mineral resources mineral resource potential. This will help the country to improve value from its resource endowment,” he said.
Prince Cuffey, Director of Geological Survey, National Minerals Agency (NMA), revealed that in 2013 they developed a five-year strategic plans which comprises geo-data.
“Mining companies have been forced to generate their own data in order to make themselves competitive and once the survey is done and report presented, NMA will be able to know where there are deposit of iron ore, rutile, gold, diamond, bauxite, among other minerals,” he revealed and thanked the World Bank Group for their support to the mining sector.