1. Who is responsible for the granting of Mineral Rights in Sierra Leone?
The Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources grants all mineral rights in Sierra Leone. The National Minerals Agency (through the Mines Directorate) is charged with the responsibility of carrying out technical assessment on all mineral right applications (to ensure they meet eligibility criteria) and provide such details to the Minerals Advisory Board for recommendations of approval or disapproval
2. What are the different categories of mineral rights granted in Sierra Leone?
The following mineral rights may be granted under the Mines and Mineral Act 2009,
- a reconnaissance licence;
- an exploration licence;
- an artisanal mining licence;
- a small-scale mining licence; and
- a large-scale mining licence.
The following categories of Permits and Certificates are also granted:
- Radioactive Minerals Permit
- Dredging Permit
- Blasting Permit
- Blaster’s Certificate
- Financial Supporter’s Certificate
- Mine Manager’s Certificate
- Mineral Sample Export Permit
3. Are there restrictions on the Grant of a Mineral Right?
YES there are restrictions under which a mineral right shall not be granted and these can be found in Section 26 (a-c) of the mines and mineral Act 2009.
4. Where can I see a list of all active mineral rights in Sierra Leone?
A list (including a map) of all active industrial mineral rights in Sierra Leone can be viewed on the Government of Sierra Leone Online Repository available at www.slminerals.org
5. Is it possible to apply for a mineral Right in Sierra Leone online?
It is not possible at the moment to make online application for a mineral right. It is a situation that the National Minerals Agency is closely considering and will be a possibility in the not too distant future.
6. Are there available geological information on specific areas in Sierra Leone, if YES where can this be obtained and at what cost?
There are a number of geological information about Sierra Leone in the form of exploration and other reports, bulletins, maps, memoirs and short papers. These are available in both soft copy and hard copy formats and can be purchased directly from the NMA headquarter office in Freetown, Sierra Leone or online through the following request form. Please give a link to the form.
7. Where are applications for Mineral Right submitted?
All applications for Mineral Rights must be submitted by hand to the Mining Cadastre Office, National Minerals Agency Headquarters, 13 Wilkinson Road, Freetown. Applications for Artisanal Mining Licences must be submitted to the National Minerals Agency Regional Offices in Bo (Southern Province), Kenema (Eastern Province), Makeni (Northern Province) and Kono (Eastern Province).
8. What are the requirements for the grant of the different categories of Mineral Rights (including Permits/Certificate)?
Specific eligibility criteria for each category of Mineral Right have been set for all applicants. Details of these can be obtained from (NMA Website).
9. What are the various categories of fees required to be paid before a particular Mineral Right (including Permits/Certificate) in granted?
All applicants are required to pay an application fees upon submission of a mineral right application. Once such application is approved, prescribed annual licence and monitoring fees are required to be paid before the mineral right if finally granted.
Details of these fees together with the required application forms for the various categories of mineral rights, permits and other technical services provided by the National Minerals Agency can be obtained from the first, second and third schedules for fees, expenditures, reporting and application forms respectively on (NMA Website).
10. What happens next after a Mineral Right has been granted?
After the grant of a mineral right, there are several duties, obligations and licence management processes that must be followed, failing which the Mineral Right may be suspended or cancelled. All of these obligations are stipulated in Sections (65), (78), (91), (102) and (115) of the Mines and Minerals Act 2009.
Additionally, subject to the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act 2009, mineral rights can be renewed, transferred or relinquished (either partly or wholly). Details of these can also be found in the Mines and Minerals Act 2009.
11. Where are statutory reports (required under the Act) for a Mineral Right submitted and in what format?
All statutory reports required under the Mines and Minerals Act must be submitted to the Mining Cadastre Office together with the prescribed form (see Third Schedule). The reports described in the Act include:
- Six-monthly report
- Annual report
- Airborne survey report (weekly progress report)
- Surrender report
- Final report
Applicants are required to submit three hard copies which should be permanently bound such that pages cannot be easily removed. All text pages, figures, tables, maps and plots should be sequentially numbered and listed in the contents.
In addition to the paper copies, three digital read-only copies must be provided in PDF format on CD or DVD. This file should not be protected by password and must be virus-free. They should be clearly labelled with the report title and date, and the data format indicated. In addition to the scanned report, all quantitative data (e.g. analyses) must be provided in digital readable form such as an Access database or Excel spreadsheet. Large images and other plots/maps may be provided as raster, JPEG or TIFF files. The digital data provided should be fully described and characterized in the accompanying hard-copy report.
12. How do you handle issues of confidentiality with regards reports submitted to your Agency?
Six-monthly, weekly reports on airborne surveys, and annual reports are confidential and, after assessment and approval by the Director of Mines and the Director of Geological Survey, will be entered into a digital database in the Mining Cadastre Office. Both the paper copies and the digital data will be stored securely with access restricted to the Director of Mines, the Director of Geological Survey and officers authorised by them who have relevant business under the Act.
Annual reports once they cease to be confidential, and all final and surrender reports upon submission, shall be transferred to the Geological Survey and entered into the database of open-file reports. They shall be made available for inspection by the general public and copies provided upon payment of a fee. Any environmental report is, by definition open to public scrutiny and is therefore non-confidential.
13. Can one submit a single Technical Report for two or more licences held under the same company?
A technical report must relate to a single licence only, even where a holder has carried out a parallel or associated programme in two or more licence areas. It is acceptable to repeat relevant sections of the text in each report as appropriate but the specific results (and expenditures) must relate only to the licence reported on.
14. Are there guidelines on the preparation of mineral right applications and writing of technical reports?
YES and these can be found on the fifth schedule of application and reporting forms available at (NMA Website).
15. What are the stages a mineral right application has to go through before it is finally granted as a licence?
All mineral right applications have to go through the following stages:
- Submission of sixteen copies of application forms (together with all required attachments) to the Mining Cadstre Office and payment of the prescribed application fees;
- GPS data validation to prove land availability (applicant is informed of the outcome of such validation and adjustments will be made where required);
- Recommendation by the Minerals Advisory Board on the Approval or disapproval of application (applicant is notified of this outcome and may appeal to the Minister on disapproval decision as stipulated in (Mines and Minerals Act 2009);
- Payment of the required licence fee through a prescribed payment procedure;
- Issuance of a signed licence copy to applicant and registration of the same at the office of the Administrator General by the applicant.
16. How long does it take for a mineral right application to be processed into a licence?
Provided an application has passed all eligibility criteria as required, it takes a maximum of 90 calendar days for a licence to be either granted or an application refused (any such decision will be communicated to the applicant). Further details on this can be obtained from the NMA’s Service Charter.
17. What are the other laws, regulations or policies governing/supporting the Mining sector in Sierra Leone?
Mining activities in Sierra Leone are strictly governed and supported by the following laws, regulations and policies:
- Mines and Minerals Act (MMA) 2009
- Mines and Minerals Administrative Regulations 2009
- Social & Environmental Regulations 2013
- Operational Regulations 2013
- National Minerals Agency Act 2012
- Precious Minerals Trading Bill 2013
Policy measures relating to small scale and artisanal mining and marketing of precious, industrial and sand based minerals.