Sierra Leone eager for foreign investors allows Cluff Gold to mine in forest reserve

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Photo Credit (c) Felicity Thompson/Christian Science Monitor

After logging, slash and burn, and ‘development’ Sierra Leone only has 4% of its initial rain forest left. And according to a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor new mining prospects could reduce this even further.

The Kangari hills are a 21,000 acre 90-year-old  forest reserve home to endangered chimps and elephants. The government of Sierra Leone has given Cluff Gold a company based in the UK license to start digging for gold in an area that environmentalists and UN experts say is well within the boundaries of the Kangari Hills demarcated back in the 1920s during British colonial rule. But today, Cluff Gold says that it has found up to 3 million ounces of gold there worth an estimated $5 Billion.

The Minister of Mineral Resources believes that there is enough forest for the mining to continue in the protected area. “We are not going to stifle major economic areas because of forests,” he was quoted as saying.

Excerpt from the full article:

A boon for meager budget

Tax revenue from the export of all of that gold could mean more money for schools, roads, hospitals, and the meager power grid in this infrastructure-poor country. The total government budget in Sierra Leone last year was just $475 million – or about one-fifth of the size of the budget of the city of Boston.

But all of that gold doesn’t come without a price. The mining process will require the use of harsh chemicals like cyanide and caustic soda, some of which will be collected in an open tailings pond that will sit just next to a local village. And the mine will leave a huge scar on the land.

Read More here

  • Johnny

    Yep, greed is the problem. The country is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. I give it 10 years maximum before total collapse.

  • kevin o brien

    The people of this country are eager for changes , after many years of war.Makeing a difference to there liveing and working conditions is a great step forward for this relected President , who due to hard work is improuveing the conditions for his people.
    there are great areas available for investors within many markets, but like everywhere , working with the right people on the ground is very important , as in a lot of west african countries , a minority of scammers spoil the efferts made by tose wanting to move forward.