Mining and Minerals: Tiffany & Co. Foundation-Sponsored Project

"I wish to particularly express our profound gratitude to the Foundation for Environmental Security and Sustainability (FESS) for choosing my chiefdom as the location of one of its demonstration sites in its Land Reclamation and Alternative Land Use project. The indiscriminate and sometimes illicit mining carried out in the alluvial diamond fields in my chiefdom did not only fuel the brutal rebel campaign in Sierra Leone that shattered and destroyed the lives of many people, but also accelerated environmental degradation, created serious health and security risks and reduced available land for agricultural activities…

Since my election as Paramount Chief of Tankoro chiefdom, it has been my ardent desire to transform those vast stretches of lands as well as other mined-out areas into productive resource for agricultural development. Your project is doing just that and I am grateful.

A critical lesson learnt from FESS' project is that community in-put is an indispensable element in the implementation of projects if such projects should succeed. The engagement of young men and women, many of whom were miners, to refill the huge pits and prepare the land for agricultural activities has not only provided a sustained source of livelihood for many families in a poverty stricken country such as ours, but has also taken them off drugs, crime and prostitution…

Given the vastness of land available for reclamation, I would like to encourage FESS to remain engaged in my chiefdom, and to even expand its activities to other parts of the district. As my people and I have demonstrated, we will continue to be supportive of the good work you are doing. For us, this project is not only about changing the environment. It is also about changing lives and building communities. I thank you very much. "

Yours sincerely

P.C. Paul Ngaba Saquee V
Paramount Chief
Tankoro Chiefdom

"Improving Environmental Management and Mitigating Land-Use Conflicts in Alluvial Diamond Fields in Sierra Leone"

Sierra Leone, an extremely poor country engaged in post-war reconstruction and development, is at a critical juncture to address significant environmental issues as it seeks to generate employment and economic growth based on its mineral resources. Alluvial diamond producing areas, widely recognized as focal points of insecurity and conflict, have suffered widespread environmental damage from over 75 years of mining with little or no land reclamation. Extensive tracts of land scarred by artisanal and small-scale mining exposes communities to significant health and safety risks and fail to provide sufficient food and livelihood security for the growing numbers of residents in diamond mining areas.

The Foundation for Environmental Security and Sustainability (FESS) is implementing a project, supported by a grant from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation's Environment Program and core funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to integrate sound environmental and natural resources management in the diamond mining sector.

The FESS project in Sierra Leone is designed as a community-based, participatory process focused on reclaiming of land after artisanal and small-scale diamond mining and implementing of alternative land uses to promote productive livelihood opportunities for local residents. The project began with research and analysis to identify the economic, social, political, and environmental challenges involved in developing a cycle of alluvial diamond mining and other economic activities that will be productive and sustainable in selected communities. This included holding a series of consultative meetings and workshops to assess local interest in and capacities for undertaking land reclamation. Next, FESS worked in partnership with three communities to carry out the process of reclaiming mined-out tracts of land and developing the land for agriculture or other productive activities. Three demonstration sites have been set up as models of how land damaged by artisanal diamond mining can be reclaimed using artisanal techniques and then be put to productive, non-mining use.

The project will conclude with preparation of a comprehensive report that consolidates the research findings, provides evaluations of the demonstration sites, and offers recommendations for integrating sound practices of environmental and natural resources management within the diamond mining sector. The project looks to define and establish a process for conducting mining land reclamation that can be replicated throughout Sierra Leone and potentially in other alluvial diamond mining communities in Africa.

Sierra Leone: New Fields, New Horizons

Project Report 2006–2007

Consultative Workshop on Land Reclamation and Alternative Land Use
Koidu, Kono District, Sierra Leone

Consultative Workshop on Land Reclamation and Alternative Land Use
Tongo Fields, Kenema District, Sierra Leone

For more information write to