Members of Parliament in Sierra Leone have committed to the Mines and Minerals Development Bill for further scrutiny and involvement of all stakeholders.
The bill is meant to address the numerous challenges faced by stakeholder in the mineral sector, and to replace the Mines and Minerals Act of 2009. It will provide facilitation of transparency in the mineral sector in accordance with international best practice, provides for the introduction of new and improved provisions for exploration, mines and minerals development, sales and export for the socio-economic benefit of Sierra Leoneans.
The bill aims to repeal and replace the Mines and Minerals Act of 2009, provides for the facilitation of transparency in the mineral sector in accordance with international best practice, provides for the introduction of new and improved provisions for exploration, mines and minerals development, sales and export for the socio-economic benefit of Sierra Leoneans.
It also aims at making provisions for the facilitation of transparent and accountable management of the minerals sector in accordance with international best practice and to provide for improved employment and employment practices in the mineral sector.
The bill further seeks to provide for improved welfare of communities affected by exploration, mining and related activities; to provide for more effective measures to reduce the harmful effects of exploration and mining activities on life, property and the environment and to provide for other related matters.
In his presentation, Minister of Mines and Minerals Resources, Timothy M. Kabbah, informed MPs that in 2009, they enacted the Mineral’s Act, which provides the framework for regulations and other policies for the smooth governance of the sector.
He said the need for the review of the bill shouldn’t be over emphasized and that most chapters and sections in the previous Act do not synchronize with the current happenings in the mineral sector, adding the call for a review is imminent to make Sierra Leone a competitive player in the sector. He stated that Section 4 deals with the administration of the sector where the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources was said to be responsible for the administration of the sector.
The new bill proposes that in consistent with the national constitution, the implementation and administration, oversight and regulation of exploration, mining and minerals trade including policy-making and inter-governmental coordination relevant to minerals development for the regulation of the sector, be the responsibility of the ministry whilst the NMA preserves the regulatory powers.