WASHINGTON, November 22, 2017 — Today, the World Bank approved a $20 million International Development Association (IDA)* Grant for the second phase of the Extractive Industries Technical Assistance Project (EITAP 2) to help strengthen governance, increase geological knowledge, and support the artisanal mining sector in the country.
Under the first phase of the Extractive Industries Technical Assistance Project (EITAP 1 (2009-2016)), Sierra Leone laid the foundation for improved governance in the mining sector. It supported new legislation, institutions, capacity building and increased transparency. These attracted new investments to the sector allowing its revenues and associated activities to make significant contributions to the country’s economic growth. Among the most important achievements was the support provided for the creation of the National Minerals Agency (NMA), the sector’s regulatory and survey institution.
The objective of this follow-on project is to continue to build on the improvements to mineral sector governance vis-à-vis strengthening the legal and regulatory frameworks and supporting the implementation of the recently updated Minerals Policy and Artisanal Mining Policy, incorporating the principles of the African Mining Vision (AMV) adopted by African Heads of State in 2009. Implementation of both the new Minerals Policy and Artisanal Mining Policy will also address issues of transfer pricing, revenue management, dispute resolution, harmonization of land policies, skills development and improved environmental management in the sector.
The project further seeks to enhance geological knowledge, including building Sierra Leone's geological infrastructure by supporting the government to conduct an airborne geophysical survey of the whole country as well as complete the coverage of geological maps of Sierra Leone. The longer-term impacts are expected from increased investor interest which will produce valuable geological information of use not only to the mining industry but also hydrologists, the agricultural sector, and rural planning.
EITAP 2 will also strengthen the Geo-Data Information Management System (GIMS) and the expected outcome is to provide basic and reliable geological information necessary to facilitate the promotion of private investments in the mining sector, identify areas that may be reserved and to support the planning of the socio-economic development of the country. In support of these activities, a Data Management Policy and guidelines is currently being prepared for definition of collection, storage, use and dissemination of the country’s geodata.
“The country currently does not have a proper inventory of geological data or a modern survey map that is essential for a modern minerals sector. The airborne survey will help provide basic and reliable geological information necessary to improve knowledge about the country’s mineral resources potential. This will help the country improve value from its resource endowment,” said Parminder Brar, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone. “The project will also benefit the people of Sierra Leone and artisanal mining communities from improved environmental protection, the mitigation of social impacts, and attention to the distribution of benefits from mining operations, including increased access to employment and other economic benefits.”
Although it is widely agreed that the artisanal mining sector in Sierra Leone is significant in terms of numbers of artisanal miners and production quantities, there is only anecdotal evidence to support this claim. EITAP 2 will fund a formal Baseline Study on Artisanal Mining in Sierra Leone, to quantify, document and analyze the extent to which artisanal mining happens, where it happens, who does it, what they mine, and why. The project will also fund the piloting of a “Green Gold” branding project to promote cleaner gold production processes amongst artisanal miners.
The Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, the National Minerals Agency (NMA), the Petroleum Directorate, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Revenue Authority, among other government entities involved in the extractive industries sector governance and oversight, will benefit from institutional reform and capacity building. The international investment community will also benefit through improvements to the regulatory regime and Geo‐Data Knowledge and Management that will facilitate foreign direct investment.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.