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  Geotimes - March 2008 - Sierra Leone wants more from mining

Sierra Leone wants more from mining

After a decade-long civil war during the 1990s, Sierra Leone is ready to revive its mining industry by welcoming back foreign companies. But mining the country’s plentiful diamonds, rutile, bauxite, gold and iron may come at a price, Reuters reported Dec. 7: If companies want to profit from Sierra Leone’s rich mineral deposits, they should be prepared to help rebuild the war-torn country, says Sierra Leone’s Minister of Mineral Resources Alhaji Abubakarr Jalloh, a geologist appointed to the position last fall by the newly elected President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Minerals account for 90 percent of Sierra Leone’s total export earnings, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. As more companies return to Sierra Leone, Jalloh says they should invest in the country’s ailing infrastructure by funding new roads, railways and ports. He intends to review all current mining contracts to improve Sierra Leone’s position, and a national mining strategy is expected to be announced early this year, Reuters reported.

Erin Wayman

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