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Sierra Leone mining revenue down as coronavirus hits diamond, gold exports

15 may 2020

sierra-leone_flag.pngSierra Leone‘s mining revenue has significantly dropped as COVID-19 restrictions are hampering companies’ diamond and gold exports, according to media reports.
The West African country’s mining revenue eased 85% to $330 000 in April compared to $2.24 million in April 2019, according to mines ministry figures cited by Reuters. 
"This means big trouble for Sierra Leone," mining minister Foday Rado Yokie was quoted as saying. "We are praying that things start up again the next few months because this is completely debilitating to our economy." 
Mining accounts for more than 80% of Sierra Leone's export revenue.
Gold and diamond exports were stopped towards the end of March, when the West African country cancelled all air traffic to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, the co-founder of Trustco Holdings' diamond mining subsidiary Meya Mining, Ibrahim Sorie Kamara said coronavirus coupled with low diamond prices had seen investors shunning projects in Sierra Leone.  
"The worst thing that has happened with COVID-19 is how hard it's hit the West, which we rely on," Kamara said. 
"You have to be able to look inwards for relief when the greater market can't offer support."

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished