Sierra Leone Embarks On Road To Economic Recovery

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Written by Clar Ni Chinghaile | From Mail & Guardian

As Sierra Leone rebuilds itself after the Ebola epidemic, it may be forced to move from a mining-heavy economic base. Falling iron ore prices and the effects of Ebola on the industry are signals for the need for change, according to the chairperson of the Chamber of Mines, John Bonoh Sisay, who said diversification would be beneficial.

He said mining companies would also have to change the way they interacted with people and would have to support healthcare as part of their corporate social responsibility.

“In the long term, it’s not a bad thing to mature the economy in that way,” said Sisay, who is also chief executive of Sierra Rutile, a mineral sands producer with a rutile mine in the southwest.

“There are other opportunities, especially in agriculture, which, from a stability point of view, really does create a lot of jobs very quickly [and the] skills base is minimal.”

Demand for iron ore in China has slumped and, with a global glut, the price has dropped, causing a shake-up in Sierra Leone’s mining industry, which has also been battered by costs linked to Ebola.

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