The first Sand and Aggregate extraction policy formulation process ended yesterday at the Santano House in Freetown.
The workshop came in the face of a growing concern that land-based sand extraction has been taking place unregulated for a long period in Sierra Leone and that licenses are granted to small scale sand miners and transporters by local councils with little restrictions or supervision.
Illegal means of obtaining this resource are also rampant. It has become a very potent industry and a means of earning a living for many locals of coastal towns.
Also breaking of stones for aggregates is also widely unregulated and is also a means of earning a living for locals.
Stakeholders say continued indiscriminate extraction of sand and aggregate will result in erosion of nearby areas and large-scale marine-based extraction will result in alteration in sediment mobilization and increased coastal erosion.
The extraction of these resources affects several facets of the operation of various ministries/agencies. These include ministries such as Mineral Resources, Tourism, Lands and Country Planning, Marine Resources, the National Commission for the Environment and Forestry and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
CEMMATS was contracted to develop a national policy for “sand and aggregate extraction for commercial purposes”, it was disclosed yesterday.
The main objective of the consultancy services is to prepare policy papers on the issues related to sand and aggregate extraction, which would serve as the document of discussion at the stakeholders’ consultative meetings from which the main goals, objectives and strategies making up the national policy as well as an action plan would be derived.
The policy-related investigations will seek to address the problem related to some of the major inefficiencies that characterize the operations of various aspects of sand and aggregate extraction.
These include actions such as setting up an appropriate institutional framework that could help remedy existing inefficiencies;
Facilitating changes in the operation and management of the sector in order to address the problems caused by such inefficiencies.