Sierra Leone: Mixed Team Tours Restive Mining SiteMay 8, 2011
A fact-finding mission comprising civil society, Sierra Leone’s Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Mines has ended a three-day tour of the mining site of the Sierra Rutile Ltd. In the Banta Chiefdom, Bonthe District.
The tour of two communities in the mining area was intended to get first-hand information about the living condition of the people and visit development projects undertaken by the mining firm as part of their Community Development Action Plan (CDAP).
In recent times, the people of the area have staged several protests over unemployment, bad road network, poor social amenities and educational system and environmental destruction, which they claim the mining company has failed to address while exploiting their resource.
The visit allowed both the community people and the mining firm to exchange ideas on how to address the issues of unemployment and development of the area, a member of the fact-finding team told WADR.
Meanwhile, a training institute has been established with support from Ospraie USA and UNIDO to provide specialized training in mechanical, electrical, electronic and civil engineering. Business studies have also been added to the Institute's curriculum at certificate level to help prepare the youths for employment.
Mining activities started in diamond-rich Sierra Leone in the 1930s when the first gem was found in Kono District, in the east of the country. Mining is a backbone of Sierra Leone’s economy.