Sierra Leone Conflict Minerals

Life of Illegal Miners

Illegal Mining For Conflict Minerals

Mining of gold, diamonds and coltan minerals in Sierra Leone has been seen as one of the key factors for instability in the country and one of the reasons for the country’s recent civil war. Traditionally, benefits from diamond mining have ended up with private companies and corrupt officials rather than the country’s government and people.

The Eastern and Southern districts in Sierra Leone, most notably the Kono and Kenema districts, are rich in alluvial diamonds, and more importantly, are easily accessible by anyone with a shovel, sieve, and transport. Since their discovery in the early 1930s, diamonds have been critical in financing the continuing pattern of corruption and personal aggrandizement at the expense of needed public services, institutions, and infrastructure.The phenomenon whereby countries with an abundance of natural resources tend to nonetheless be characterized by lower levels of economic development is known as the “resource curse”.

Despite being among the top-ten diamond-producing nations, the mining sector faces many challenges, including weak laws and smuggling issues. Sierra Leone is losing large revenue that could have been earned from taxes and licensing agreements. This approach led many Sierra Leone citizens into mining fields where most miners only barely earn enough to survive. They are hand-built artesan mines, with the only tools available being shovels and a lot of hard manual labour. Photo essay gallery displays usual day to day life local peoples decided to find own happiness and satisfaction with shovel in the hands.