Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a joint operation, the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) in collaboration with the National Mineral Agency (NMA) arrested and detained three individuals engaged in alleged illegal gold mining in Diang Chiefdom, Koinadugu District, Sierra Leone, on Thursday, January 11, 2024.
The arrested individuals, whose names were not disclosed, were apprehended during a monitoring exercise initiated by the NMA following intelligence reports of illegal mining activities in various communities within the Diang Chiefdom. The authorities have also seized the equipment, including excavators, employed for these illegal operations.
Inspector Bernard Ndomawa, Officer-in-charge of Operations Support Division (OSD) in Koinadugu District, reported that his patrol team apprehended the three individuals during their illegal mining activity. He assured that the arrested individuals would be in police custody and prosecuted diligently. Inspector Ndomawa affirmed the commitment of his patrol team to continue efforts in identifying and prosecuting illegal miners in the region.
Isaac Kallon, Regional Manager for the Northern Region at the National Mineral Agency (NMA), revealed that intelligence indicated ongoing illegal mining activities without proper permits or licenses in the region. Kallon mentioned the challenges faced by the NMA, including the difficult terrain that makes it hard to reach these locations. He accused some community residents of collusion with illegal miners, emphasizing the need for landowners’ consent for mining activities.
In response to the illegal mining, Kallon outlined the NMA’s plan for permanent deployment in affected locations. He estimated that the illegal miners had already used between 4 and 5 acres of land for their activities.
District Engineer of the NMA, Obrian Sesay, highlighted the agency’s mandate to regulate mining operations and ensure that the country benefits from such activities. Sesay emphasized that illegal mining results in financial losses for the country, as royalties are not paid to the government during these operations. He pledged to undertake effective raids in communities with illegal activities while exploring alternative measures to curb the menace. SKS/15/1/2024