The Sierra Leone Web


29TH – 30TH SEPTEMBER, 2000


Sierra Leone, a country rich in mineral resources was plunged into a brutal civil war about a decade ago. The war reached alarming humanitarian, political and historic proportions when the RUF employed diabolical strategies like arson, chopping off limbs of children, women and the aged. This aroused the concern of the international community, which was quick in establishing the link between diamonds and the continuation of war in Sierra Leone.

International concern climaxed with the publication of a study undertaken by Partnership Africa Canada entitled The Heart of the Matter: Sierra Leone, Diamonds and Human Security. The launching of the said report in Sierra Leone by the Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD) on January 12th 2000 was immediately followed by the establishment of a Civil Society Task Force which launched a "Campaign for Just Mining" using the recommendations in the report and other findings pertaining to the mining industry in Sierra Leone.

Since then, the Task Force has organized four regional consultations on mining did case studies in the Southern and Eastern regions, held a symposium, conducted radio and TV panel discussions in a bid to gathering and collating the views of key players in the mining sector on the one hand; and sensitizing and educating the public on mining issues on the other.

The National Consultative Conference held on September 29th and 30th brought together the local stakeholders (community people, traditional rulers, dealers, mining companies, government representatives and civil society groups) in the mining sector and international partners in order to reach consensus on issues at stake and identify concrete solutions for a just mining programme in Sierra Leone.

Topics / Themes

The discussions in the consultation revolved around the following themes:

  1. Security issues relating to mining
  2. The role of government in mining
  3. The impact of mining on the environment
  4. Generating and distributing revenue from mining
  5. The role of local communities
  6. The role of civil society
  7. The cultural implications of mining


1. Security:

Key issue: Rebel control of major mining areas and how to gain control of those areas.


  1. With immediate effect to clear/liberate the diamond mining areas of rebels through e.g. private security firms
  2. Ban mining (diamond) in Sierra Leone for at least 5 years
  3. Declare UN trusteeship over diamond mining areas

2. The Role of Government in Mining:

Key issue: Formulation of a pro-people mining policy


  1. Liberation of mining areas now occupied by rebels
  2. Foreigners must be removed from mining areas and definition of citizenship reviewed to be by birth and not by ownership of Sierra Leonean passport
  3. Stringent control of border areas by dedicated and motivated security personnel
  4. To ensure a policy of national reserve for mineral resources
  5. Mining to be entrusted in the hands of a few credible local and international companies with alluvial mining being restricted to Sierra Leoneans
  6. Educate local communities about environmental issues in mining
  7. To encourage De Beers and other credible international mining companies e.g. Rapaport to open an office in Sierra Leone
  8. Re-introduce the permit system for residents in mining areas
  9. Licenses, taxes and royalties should be made competitive with other countries
  10. 10% government royalties to be allocated to communities for community development programmes

3. Impact of Mining on the Environment:

Key issue: Environmental degradation of mining areas in Sierra Leone


  1. The current clause in the mining policy relating to the environment be maintained
  2. To ensure the rehabilitation of mining areas before, during and after every mining activity
  3. All mechanisms and structures relating to mining should have qualified environmentalists
  4. Mining companies and miners to rehabilitate mine out sites after mining activity

4. Generating and Distributing Revenue from Mining:

Key issue: Serious problems associated with generating and distributing Revenue from mining


  1. The management of large scale companies must involve at least 50% Sierra Leonean nationals
  2. More information and transparency in the mining industry
  3. Provision of social amenities e.g. health centres/hospitals, water systems, schools (scholarships), bridges, recreational centres etc. before mining commences

5. The Role of Local Communities

Key issue: The effects of mining on local communities is devastating


  1. Promote cultural revival and education in communities and schools respectively
  2. Educate the community about environmental issues
  3. To monitor the implementation of mining policies and operations of mining companies
  4. Ensure that proper environmental impact assessment is done, terms of mining is negotiated openly with all stakeholders involved and consensus arrived at before mining should start

6. The Role of Civil Society

Key issue: Networking, advocacy and Campaigning


  1. To ensure that local communities and civil society’s active involvement in mining policy formulation, implementation and monitoring/evaluation is evident.
  2. Civil Society to ensure their representation in the management of the GGDO
  3. Civil society should network with international partners in order to build the technical knowledge/capacity of the Task Force on mining issues
  4. To ensure that the resolutions from this National Consultative Conference are implemented and followed through at all levels

7. Cultural Implications of Mining

Key issue: Consequences of mining on culture


  1. Mining companies to accord respect to community shrines, Society bushes and other cultural related issues
  2. Selective mining and planning of mining sites

8. International Dimension

Key Issue: A healthy international environment favorable to peace and development.


  1. The Security Council to establish stronger links with and give support to the Sierra Leone civil society groups especially working on the "Just Mining Campaign". They should be invited to represent the country and make positions on the mining situation.
  2. The Embargo on Conflict Diamonds should be imposed simultaneously on Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.
  3. All countries and people implicated in the Sierra Leone diamond saga must be thoroughly investigated and brought to book.
  4. The capacity of civil society must be enhanced/built to help transform the mining sector.


The Task Force on Just Mining in Sierra Leone and
Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD)
18, Big Waterloo Street-Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Tel: 232-22.223378/229937 Fax: 232-22.225486