Frequently Asked Questions

The Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources grants all mineral rights in Sierra Leone. The National Minerals Agency (through the Mines Directorate) is charged with the responsibility of carrying out technical assessment on all mineral right applications (to ensure they meet eligibility criteria) and provide such details to the Minerals Advisory Board for recommendations of approval or disapproval.

The following mineral rights may be granted under the Mines and Mineral Act 2009,

  1. a reconnaissance licence;
  2. an exploration licence;
  3. an artisanal mining licence;
  4. a small-scale mining licence; and
  5. A large-scale mining licence.

The following categories of Permits and Certificates are also granted:

  1. Radioactive Minerals Permit
  2. Dredging Permit
  3. Blasting Permit
  4. Blaster’s Certificate
  5. Financial Supporter’s Certificate
  6. Mine Manager’s Certificate
  7. Mineral Sample Export Permit

YES there are restrictions under which a mineral right shall not be granted and these can be found in Section 26 (a-c) of the Mines and Mineral Act 2009.

A list (including a map) of all active industrial mineral rights in Sierra Leone can be viewed on the Government of Sierra Leone Online Repository available at

It is not possible at the moment to make online application for a mineral right. It is a situation that the National Minerals Agency is closely considering and will be a possibility in the not too distant future.

There are a number of geological information about Sierra Leone in the form of exploration and other reports, bulletins, maps, memoirs and short papers. These are available in both soft copy and hard copy formats and can be purchased directly from the NMA headquarter office in Freetown, Sierra Leone or online through the request form.

All applications for Mineral Rights must be submitted by hand to the Mining Cadastre Office, National Minerals Agency Headquarters, 13 Wilkinson Road, Freetown.

Applications for Artisanal Mining Licences must be submitted to the National Minerals Agency Regional Offices in Bo (Southern Province), Kenema (Eastern Province), Makeni (Northern Province) and Kono (Eastern Province).

Specific eligibility criteria for each category of Mineral Right have been set for all applicants. Details of these can be obtained from the National Minerals Agency website.

All applicants are required to pay an application fees upon submission of a mineral right application. Once such application is approved, prescribed annual licence and monitoring fees are required to be paid before the mineral right if finally granted.

Details of these fees together with the required application forms for the various categories of mineral rights, permits and other technical services provided by the National Minerals Agency can be obtained from the first, second and third schedules for fees, expenditures, reporting and application forms respectively on the National Minerals Agency website.

After the grant of a mineral right, there are several duties, obligations and licence management processes that must be followed, failing which the Mineral Right may be suspended or cancelled. All of these obligations are stipulated in Sections (65), (78), (91), (102) and (115) of the Mines and Minerals Act 2009.

Additionally, subject to the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act 2009, mineral rights can be renewed, transferred or relinquished (either partly or wholly). Details of these can also be found in the Mines and Minerals Act 2009.

All statutory reports required under the Mines and Minerals Act must be submitted to the Mining Cadastre Office together with the prescribed form (see Third Schedule). The reports described in the Act include:

  1. Six-monthly report
  2. Annual report
  3. Airborne survey report (weekly progress report)
  4. Surrender report
  5. Final report

Applicants are required to submit three hard copies which should be permanently bound such that pages cannot be easily removed. All text pages, figures, tables, maps and plots should be sequentially numbered and listed in the contents.

In addition to the paper copies, three digital read-only copies must be provided in PDF format on CD or DVD. This file should not be protected by password and must be virus-free. They should be clearly labelled with the report title and date, and the data format indicated. In addition to the scanned report, all quantitative data (e.g. analyses) must be provided in digital readable form such as an Access database or Excel spreadsheet. Large images and other plots/maps may be provided as raster, JPEG or TIFF files. The digital data provided should be fully described and characterized in the accompanying hard-copy report.

Six-monthly, weekly reports on airborne surveys, and annual reports are confidential and, after assessment and approval by the Director of Mines and the Director of Geological Survey, will be entered into a digital database in the Mining Cadastre Office. Both the paper copies and the digital data will be stored securely with access restricted to the Director of Mines, the Director of Geological Survey and officers authorised by them who have relevant business under the Act.

Annual reports once they cease to be confidential, and all final and surrender reports upon submission, shall be transferred to the Geological Survey and entered into the database of open-file reports. They shall be made available for inspection by the general public and copies provided upon payment of a fee. Any environmental report is, by definition open to public scrutiny and is therefore non-confidential.

A technical report must relate to a single license only, even where a holder has carried out a parallel or associated programme in two or more license areas. It is acceptable to repeat relevant sections of the text in each report as appropriate but the specific results (and expenditures) must relate only to the license reported on.

YES and these can be found on the fifth schedule of application and reporting forms available at the National Minerals Agency website.

All mineral right applications have to go through the following stages:

  1. Submission of sixteen copies of application forms (together with all required attachments) to the Mining Cadastre Office and payment of the prescribed application fees;
  2. GPS data validation to prove land availability (applicant is informed of the outcome of such validation and adjustments will be made where required);
  3. Recommendation by the Minerals Advisory Board on the Approval or disapproval of application (applicant is notified of this outcome and may appeal to the Minister on disapproval decision as stipulated in (Mines and Minerals Act 2009);
  4. Payment of the required licence fee through a prescribed payment procedure;
  5. Issuance of a signed licence copy to applicant and registration of the same at the office of the Administrator General by the applicant.

Provided an application has passed all eligibility criteria as required, it takes a maximum of 90 calendar days for a licence to be either granted or an application refused (any such decision will be communicated to the applicant).

Further details on this can be obtained from the NMA’s Service Charter.

Mining activities in Sierra Leone are strictly governed and supported by the following laws, regulations and policies:

  • Mines and Minerals Act (MMA) 2009
  • Mines and Minerals Administrative Regulations 2009
  • Social & Environmental Regulations 2013
  • Operational Regulations 2013
  • National Minerals Agency Act 2012
  • Precious Minerals Trading Bill 2013
  • Policy measures relating to small scale and artisanal mining and marketing of precious, industrial and sand based minerals.