By Ragan M. Conteh
The Director General of the Mines and Mineral Agency, Mr. Julius Daniel Mattai, has informed the media that the export of minerals, from Sierra Leone, has declined considerably, which decline has affected the development activities of government.
He said, in 2019 alone, the mining sector generated over $400 million, but, in 2020, it showed a decline of $313 million, respectively.
According to the DG, the mining sector is not working in isolation, citing that the Agency is not dealing with money.
“The Agency is always looking at the monetary policy and leakages, which could either be upstream or downstream. The mining sector is unique in its own way,” the DG said.
DG Mattai pointed out that half a million people, in Sierra Leone, are currently engaged in artisanal mining, which may not yield any dividend for the country. He said they are working collaboratively to ensure sanity in the mining sector as well as making sure they work in the best interest of the people.
The sector is also dealing with environmental issues, like climate change, air quality and environmental health and safety and community development issues.
The DG said the Agency was established to promote the development of the minerals sector by effectively and efficiently managing the administration and regulation of mineral rights and minerals trading in Sierra Leone. He said the Agency also provides technical and other support to the mineral sector, including geographical survey and data collection activities.
He said the Agency Act stipulates that the Agency will administer and enforce the Mines and Minerals Act 2009, and other Acts related to the trade in minerals and related regulations.
He went further that they have made recommendations for the amendment and other improvements in the laws and regulations, and to advise the minister on policy matters related to mining and natural resource governance.
Mr. Mattai pointed out that the Agency is responsible for formulating and implementing plans and systems for managing the responsible development of the minerals sector and to promote the rights of communities.
He revealed that the Agency is professional and technical, serving and developing Sierra Leone’s minerals sector and local communities with the vision to ensure maximum benefits for Sierra Leoneans from our mineral resources.