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Sierra Leone mining upheaval will prompt unease

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Significance

In recent months, the government suspended SL Mining's licence pending review, while also cancelling the licences of Tonkolili Iron Ore (SL) and African Railway and Port Services (ARPS), subsidiaries of Shandong Iron and Steel Group. During his 2018 election campaign, President Julius Maada Bio promised to review existing mining licences due to what he called “extreme lack of transparency” under the previous administration.

Impacts

  • Continued mining sector uncertainty could dampen wider investment given the extractives sector's importance in driving broader growth.
  • Internally generated revenue targets, a key government aim, will prove difficult to meet in the short term if more contract reviews occur.
  • Recent election petition rulings in favour of the SLPP will raise concerns of a cowed judiciary ahead of miners' potential legal challenges.
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