Socially & Environmentally Responsible Mining in Sierra Leone

Novel and Practical Conservation Strategies Following Mining in Sierra Leone

EFA is the principle country partner for a three-year Darwin Initiative project to improve rehabilitation and conservation methods associated with rutile (titanium dioxide) mining. This study, conducted in Moyamba and Bonthe Districts in Sierra Leone, will begin in November 2006.

The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) is the UK-based project leader. A consortium of Conservation International (CI), the Community and Advocacy Development Movement (CADEM), Forah Bay College, Njala University, local communities and Sierra Rutile Limited (SRL) joined forces to test various models of rehabhilitation and conservation post mining.

The following activities wil be undertaken:

  1. development of reclamation technologies using a decentralized business strategy including training for the local communities in how to produce stock and compost;
  2. establishment of a monitoring system;
  3. assessment of potential forms of ecosystem service payment systems; and
  4. consensus building among the stakeholders (local communities, conservation interests and the mining company).

This project builds on the foundation established by a preparatory study conducted from November 2005 – October 2006 with support from IUCN NL.

The pre-project study, coordinated by EFA, was a participatory analysis of social, environmental and economic variables related to large scale commercial rutile and bauxite mining activities in southwest Sierra Leone. The study included local organizations, communities, mining company representatives and academia and draws attention to the wider landscape services the naturally vegetation provides and investigates rehabilitation schemes using locally provided native plants. The results of the study inform the longer term Darwin Initiative explained above.