Sierra Leone shields forest from mining

2011-12-05 08:30

Lalehun - Sierra Leone has conferred protected national park status on a remote tract of forest that has attracted attention for its iron ore mining potential.

The creation of the 71 000ha Gola Forest National Park near the border with Liberia is aimed at preserving the largest remaining fragment of the Upper Guinea rainforest in Sierra Leone. It is the second such park in the West African country.

The area is home to 300 species of bird, 600 butterfly species and 45 species of mammals, including some 300 chimpanzees.

Around 140 000 people live in the area, whose park status was confirmed in a ceremony on Saturday with President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Iron ore production was restarted in Sierra Leone in November and shipments in 2012 could start transforming the local economy. The International Monetary Fund expects gross domestic product to leap by around 50% in 2012 as a result of iron.

Tourists

"The mining threat still exists; but the president has been absolutely resolute that mining will not come into the park," said Tim Stowe of Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, one of the project backers.

Local people also search for diamonds and gold in the Gola Forest. Koroma said illegal miners would face consequences - a prospect which dismays some of the area's inhabitants.

"This is the place we used to go to get our money to carry on our lives," said Musa Taimeh, a 40-year-old from Tunkia chiefdom. "We cannot go to farm there, we cannot go to log; we cannot go to mine diamonds."

Sierra Leone receives very few tourists, with many foreigners still put off by associations with a bloody civil war that ended nine years ago.

Supporters of the park admit they expect few visitors initially, but hope soon to cover running costs by using the value of the forest's ability to cleanse the atmosphere of carbon dioxide as an off offset for emissions of greenhouse gases elsewhere.

The opening of the park coincides with a major scandal over allegations of corruption in the use of local natural resources.

A documentary film alleged two men in the office of Sierra Leone's Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana accepted bribes from undercover reporters in return for a promise that the vice president would back an illegal logging project.

The government has said it is investigating the allegations, which have been denied by Sam Sumana's office.

Read more on:    sierra leone  |  environment
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Numsa prepares for life after Cosatu

Numsa has not only reiterated its call for President Jacob Zuma to resign but it is also preparing for life outside of Cosatu, a report states.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.