Project Case Study
Supporting the establishment of the National Minerals Agency in Sierra Leone
Supporting the sustainable development of Sierra Leone's mining sector
Sierra Leone’s mining industry has been marred by its association with blood diamonds, and conflict in the industry was one of the causes of the recent civil war. Levels of corruption associated with the industry were reported to be high.
To move away from this notoriety, including the Mines and Minerals Act 2009, and social & environmental regulations, operational regulations and the draft Precious Minerals Trading Act.
However, the Government of Sierra Leone now faces the challenge of needing the institutional capacity to implement this legislation.
Existing regulatory responsibility lay with the Ministry of Mines & Mineral Resources, which was heavily influenced by political considerations and struggled to attract high-calibre technical staff – mining engineers and geologists – required to enforce compliance in the industry.
Semi-autonomous state regulatory authorities have proved successful in a number of markets, including Ghana and Papua New Guinea, in improving mineral sector governance. Drawing on our strong relationship with the government of Sierra Leone, we provided strategic advice on the appropriateness of such an authority for the country and were then invited to provide institutional reform assistance in the establishment of the National Minerals Agency.
The National Minerals Agency was founded in April 2012 with the National Minerals Agency Act. With our support, the Board has put a plan in place to recruit high-quality senior management and staff, commencing operations in March 2013. The organisation is set up to be efficient in enforcing laws and regulations, performing to international standards and staffed with technically qualified professionals.
The resulting increase in institutional capacity to regulate the mining sector will see wide-ranging benefits including environmental protection, increases in state revenue, improvement of the health & safety of mine workers, transparency of contracts and concessions, increased investor confidence and investment, and finally significant improvements in economic and social development of Sierra Leone.