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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook area reports: international 1972
Year 1972, Volume 3 (1972)

Stipp, Henry E.
Sierra Leone,   pp. 695-698 PDF (385.2 KB)

Page 695

  695The Mineral Industry of Sierra Leone 
By Henry E. Stipp1 
 The mineral ii~idustry of Sierra Leone in 1972 continued to play a large
role in the economy of the small West African country. Mineral exports in
1971 accounted for about 74% of total exports and about 17% of the gross
national product (GNP) estimated at $456 million.2 Diamond exports were the
largest source of foreign exchange, valued for export at about $59.9 million.
 Resumption of rutile mining at Gambatoke, Bon'the District, was anticipated
as the result of an agreement signed by the Government and Sierra Rutile
Ltd., a consortium of Nord Resources Corp. and Armco Steel Corp. of the United
States. The agreement was ratified by Parliament in November. 
 A 968.9 (revised figure) carat diamond was found at Yengema by National
Diamond Mining Co. (Sierra Leone) Ltd. The diamond, named the Star of Sierra
Leone, was sold to a U.S. jeweler at yearend, reportedly for about $1.5 million.
 In April the Government increased the price of gasoline by 3 cents per gallon
and the price of fuel oil by 4 cents per gallon. The increase in prices was
necessary to enable the Sierra Leone Petroleum Refinery Co. to operate profitably.
In May a new oil refining company was incorporated in Sierra Leone. An act
to ratify the agreement between the Government and a number of oil firms
on ownership and operation 
of the refinery was passed by Parliament. Fifty percent of the company ' operating
the oil refinery is now owned by the Sierra Leone Government and 50% by a
cionsortium of firms that includes British Petroleum (WA) Ltd., Shell Co.
of S.L. Ltd., Texaco Africa Ltd., Mobil Oil (S.L.) Ltd., and Agip (.S.L.)
 An exclusive prospecting license was granted by the Government to Spencer
Engineering and Exploration Co. Ltd. to prospect for chromium, nickel, copper,
cobalt, and associated minerals in Bontle, Bo, Kenema, and Pujehun Districts,
in July the Government announced ' that the drive to curtail illicit diamond
mining resulted in the removal of 1,500 persons from the diamondiferous areas.
 Conferences on trade between the Governinents of Sierra Leone and Nigeria
were being conducted at yearend. Sierra Leone was bargaining to buy crude
oil from the Nigerian Government. In return Sierra Leone would supply iron
ore and petroleum products to Nigeria. 
 The Government and Sierra Leone Development Co. Ltd. (DELCO) began negotiations
in May for acquisition by the Government of a 51% equity interest in the
company. At yearend negotiations were still in progress. DELCO has been mining
iron ore at Marampa since 1930. 
 Production of mineral commodities in 1972 was valued at an estimated $87.7
million (not including petroleum refinery products) compared with an estimated
$82.5 million in 1971. Although the output of diamond decreased about 5%
from 1971, the value increased about 2% because of 
the higher price for diamond on the world market. 
 Quantity figures for the production of mineral commodities are shown in
table 1. 
 1 Physical scientist, Division of Ferrous Metals— Mineral Supply.
 2 necessary, values have been converted from Leones (Le) to U.S. dollars
at the rate of Lel US$l.20. 

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