February 15, 2017
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The report of the study titled: “The Impact of Expanding Artisanal and Small Scale Mining on Smallholder Agriculture in West Africa: Case Study of Sierra Leone” was yesterday validated by stakeholders at the Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown.
The report indicated that mined out lands were not only rendered useless due to lack of rehabilitation, but posed serious environmental threat, thus prompting stakeholders to demand action by authorities to get miners to return potential agricultural lands to their pre-mining states.
Some of the farmers interviewed during the study expressed their dismay over the lack of enforcement of the law that requires artisanal and small-scale miners to return the land to its pre-mining state.
It continued further that land that would otherwise be sued for commercial agriculture and recreation were being held up by small and sometimes illicit operators.
The report recommended for the strict enforcement of the laws that require licensed miners of every description to reclaim mined out sites and return the land to their predevelopment state through rehabilitation.
According to the lead researcher, Dr. Mustapha Olajiday Thomas, who doubles as Head of Geology Department at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, the country’s land policy recognizes that land use planning was essential to the efficient and sustainable utilization and management of land and land based resources with a view of benefiting Sierra Leoneans.