By: Amara Kargbo
Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, through the Geo-Data Management Policy has set a patent framework that seeks to manage information on a mineral scale, to underpin the development and governance of Sierra Leone in positioning a data-rich geological information that intended to help all sectors-Country, Companies Communities-get a good deal from mineral assets, and it crucial in government’s long-term mineral development strategy.
This new development appears as a deterrent or foul-strewn measure of geological data, though the economy of Sierra Leone has been dependent on the mineral sector for decades, there has never been a comprehensive policy guide to government’ geo-data acquisition and management strategy.
In many ways, every-so-often, government relied on geological information provided by exploration companies which have not always been cooperative to effective mineral development, but adopting this Geo-data Policy, government expresses its brawny commitment yet, to improve governance and management of mineral sector, and to match-up with the stipulated objectives of the Sierra Leone Minerals Policy 2018.
MorieKombaManyeh, Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources described the policy as a timely approach, when considering the “Geo-Data Management in Today’s Market.” He noted that somewhat ad hoc processes based on exploration findings and mine development contributes to the Geo-data information for the country.
He emphasized that the Geo-data Information management System has been established as the data management system operated within the National Mineral Agency that gears to record all exploration reports and related data.
He outlined that, mining and exploration have been considerable contributors to the national GDP; still, comprehensive knowledge of the country’s mineral, oil and gas endowments does not exist. As large-scale mineral investments have increased, some attention to potential infrastructure, side-stream and downstream linkages has been given but has not optimized potential linkages or revenue generation.
He continued that, in Sierra Leone, large-scale, small-scale and artisanal mining is ongoing in more than half of the country’s 190 chiefdoms, much of which is conducted “blindly” due to paucity of geological information.
He adduced that there is no comprehensive geological map of the country at scale sufficiently detailed to provide information that could lead to investment decisions and the current geology and mineral potential map is at a scale of only 1:250,000.
Implementation of this Geo-data Management Policy for the country is crucial to support government commitment to developing minerals as a driving force for the country’s economic and human capital development, said the minister.
As an information and investment concept, “Geo-data” is poorly understood outside the technical bodies operating in the country, but the Geo-data is presently acquired and analyzed raw information data, maps, photographs, samples, reports, licensing information and technical analysis and chemical characteristics.
He reiterated the government commitment to the African Mining Vision (AMV) adopted by all Africans Heads of State in 2009, that Sierra Leone seeks to develop and strengthen its Geo-data management policies to ensure its non-renewable mineral, oil, and gas resources are conserved and developed for the benefit of its citizens and long-term national transformation growth.
The policy unanimously attracted investors, analysts, researchers as it provides the technical view that notably impacts the “commerciality” of investment.
Mines minister noted that the Geo-data will be managed by the relevant agencies (NMA and PD) for the national public good, and reconciliation of legal provisions includes in the Mines and Minerals Act 2009 and Petroleum Act, 2011 and other sector-relevant legislation will ensure that clear and enforceable legislative provisions are in place.
The contribution of the minerals sector to Sierra Leone economy is of provable impact, primarily in the creation of employment and generation of income in urban, rural and remote communities. Despite the opportunities associated in the mining, poverty rates are extreme, and the economic benefits are not adequately captured.
The ministry of mines through the government, Geo-data is part of the country information linkages and may be used to popularize the mineral wealth of the country to generate revenues for government.