S.Leone orders British mining company to halt operations

9th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Sierra Leone orderd Britain-based London Mining to halt operations at one of its sites while it is probed for violating environmental standards, an official said on Tuesday.

"The company did not acquire an Environmental Impact Assessment licence before it started mining operations and this was discovered after we conducted an environmental monitoring visit about five days ago to the site," said Momodu Bah, a deputy director of Sierra Leone's Environmental Protection Agency.

The company was ordered to suspend operations at the mine in Lunsar, 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of the capital, while a probe continued, Bah said.

The official said London Mining Company would be required to provide a report on the environmental impact of its operations in Lunsar and how to minimise pollution in the area, where fishing is a key industry.

"Sierra Leone is not a banana republic where people can come in, start mining and ignore the law," he said.

The west African nation, ravaged by an 11-year civil war, is rich in diamonds, gold, bauxite and platinum and has secured massive interest in its considerable iron ore stores.

The company, which has operations in Colombia, Chile, China, South Africa and Saudi Arabia, declined to comment.

© 2010 AFP

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