The Government of Sierra Leone, in collaboration with the World Bank, has launched the second phase of the Extractive Industries Technical Assistance Project (EITAP 2) to support the artisanal mining sector in the country.
The project will help increase geological knowledge and strengthen governance of the mineral sector. It will also build on the improvements in the mineral sector governance by strengthening the legal and regulatory frameworks and supporting the implementation of the recently updated Minerals Policy and Artisanal Mining Policy.
During the first phase (2009-2016), 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 revenues and associated activities to make significant contributions to the country’s economic growth. Among the most notable achievements of the project was the support provided for the creation of the National Minerals Agency (NMA), the sector’s regulatory and survey institution.
Although it is widely agreed that the artisanal mining sector is significant in terms of numbers of artisanal miners and production quantities, there is only anecdotal evidence to support this claim.
This project will fund a Baseline Study on Artisanal Mining in Sierra Leone to quantify, document and analyze the extent to which artisanal mining happens, where it happens, who does it, what they mine, and why.
“Having hailed from Kono District, addressing the issues surrounding the artisanal mining sector is particularly close to my heart and EITAP 2 will seek to do this by setting out the policy principles by which the economic and social contribution of the artisanal mining sector will be effectively captured for the benefit of citizens of Sierra Leone,” said Dr. Morie Manyeh, Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources.
The project will also promote cleaner gold production processes amongst artisanal and small-scale miners.
This activity will make recommendations along the gold value chain for scaling up the production and marketing of artisanal and small-scale gold resources using a unique Sierra Leonean ‘Green Gold’ brand based on principles of ‘fair mining.’
The new project seeks to further 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.
This enhancement in geological knowledge and improvement in the country’s geological infrastructure will not only support the mining sector but also land use planning, environmental management, civil works, water management, risk hazard management, forestry, agriculture and energy.
Sierra Leone is a resource-rich country with extensive known and potential mineral and petroleum resources. However, knowledge about the geology of the country is limited, with very little modern data in the public domain, and this limits opportunities for the sector’s contributions to economic growth and sustainable development.
“The country currently does not have a high-quality inventory of geological data or modern maps that are the essential building blocks for a dynamic minerals sector. The airborne survey will help provide basic and reliable geological information necessary to improve knowledge about the country’s mineral resources potential. This will help improve value from its resource endowment,” said Dr. Gayle Martin, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone.
Key government entities involved in the management and oversight of the extractives sector, namely, the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, the National Minerals Agency (NMA), the Petroleum Directorate, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Revenue Authority (NRA), among others, will benefit from institutional reform and capacity building under the project.