Sustainable development and mining in Sierra Leone
The conflicts between pursuing mining activities to foster economic development and protecting the environment in which such activities take place is a recurring dilemma for mineral reliant countries like Sierra Leone. The concept of sustainable development was designed on the international platform to ameliorate such dilemmas. The concept functions as an arbiter to reconcile biases between developmental goals and environmental objectives, by advocating an integration of one in the other. This study presents sustainable development as valuable recipe, by which mining ventures could be pursued as an economic imperative (to meet the needs of present and future generations), while protecting the environment and its components in the pursuit of such developments. The thesis begins with an introduction into mining in Sierra Leone. It illustrates the international breeding of sustainable development in environmental protection (as oppose to economic development), and emphasise the importance of sustainability principles for sound legal and policy guidance at the national level. It also establishes the applicability of the concept to mineral resourced evelopmentsg enerally. Mineral-specificla ws and other legal controls in Sierra Leone are then examined as a case study; their sustainability content is ascertained and their capacity as a legal regime to direct or achieve sustainable mining in that country is explored. Finally, aspects of implementation of sustainable development in Sierra Leone's mining and its domestic implications are examined. This study shows that despite the definitional questions, sustainable development has direct and primary relevance for environmental protection in the economic exploitation of natural resources. It identifies a legal character in the concept beyond legislative processes, and a flexibility in its principles that allows for their interpretation within legal rules to enhance environmental protection at the national level. It also illustrates the link between effective implementation and ensuring sustainable mining.