Sierra Leone is richly endowed with minerals such as iron ore, rutile, diamonds, bauxite, gold, platinum, zircon, ilmenite, chromite and columbite-tantalite (coltan).
Since April 2018, the Government has issued three large-scale mining licences (i.e., Seawright Mining Company Ltd, Wongor Investment Mining Company Ltd, and Meya Mining Company Ltd) in Kono District, in addition to Koidu Ltd. Also, for the first time since 1961, the Government has issued large-scale mining licences in Bo District (i.e., FG Gold Ltd); in Kenema District (i.e., Sierra Diamonds Ltd); in Koinadugu District (Cheng-Li Mining Company Ltd for gold); and in Kambia District (Supreme Mining Ltd for bauxite). In 2020, mining operations also re-started in Tonkolili District by Dayu Mining Company Ltd and Kingho Mining Company Ltd.
The number of large-scale mining companies has increased from six in April 2018, to 13 in April 2021. This includes operations in Moyamba and Bonthe Districts by Sierra Minerals Holdings Ltd and Sierra Rutile (Iluka) Ltd. The number of small-scale mining companies have increased from six in April 2018 to 17 in April 2021.
The main legislation that governs the sector is the Mines and Minerals Act of 2009, which, though widely perceived to be very competitive, is currently being reviewed to ensure that its provisions are transparent, stable, comprehensive, and consistent with industry best practice.
In 2019, the Government launched three key policies: the Minerals Policy; Artisanal Mining Policy; and Geo-Data Management Policy, to promote and protect investments; ensure that Sierra Leone derives maximum benefits from its mineral wealth; promote value addition and economic linkages; increase geological knowledge; improve environmental and social management; and formalize the artisanal mining sector.
The country maintains a sophisticated Mining Cadastre Administration System (MCAS) and an Online Portal that support the effective, efficient and transparent administration and management of mineral rights. The Portal displays revenue and other useful data and information pertaining to mineral applications and rights. This Portal can be easily accessed from anywhere, at any time and on any internet-based device free of charge.