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Sierra Rutile increases rate of land rehabilitation by 300% in 2012

Sierra Rutile increases rate of land rehabilitation by 300% in 2012

Sierra Leonean mining company Sierra Rutile is ahead of schedule with its programme to restore all mined-out land in its area of operations to a usable state, reporting that it has rehabilitated 142 hectares of land this year – an area equivalent to 175 football pitches, and 300% more than last year.

While rutile is mined without creating large scale mining pits or leaving behind toxic or contaminated land, it does create dredge lakes and sandy tailings.  Under the mine’s previous owners, the rehabilitation of disturbed land did not match the rate of disturbance – an issue that Sierra Rutile’s present management is committed to correcting over the next six years.

Sierra Rutile has drawn extensively on the expertise of forestry, horticulture and land rehabilitation specialists to ensure that the complex and sensitive process of rehabilitating mined-out and disturbed land is successful and meets local and international standards.

Decisions regarding which areas to be rehabilitated, methods to be used and which species of tree to plant are the result of regular and extensive consultations with the local community.  A key focus of Sierra Rutile’s land rehabilitation project is to make it community-owned and to maximise the benefits derived by local communities.

Methods used in the process include re-contouring and levelling land to mimic the natural landscape, then adding fertile top soil and organic manure, before planting trees, such as Neem, Moringa, Cashew,  Yemani,  Coconut, Oil palm, Acacia and Almond – which have economic as well as environmental advantages.  The extensive workforce necessary for the programme is drawn from the local community.

John Sisay, CEO of Sierra Rutile, says:  “Sierra Rutile takes a sustainable approach to its mining operations; returning disturbed land to a useable form is crucial aspect of that ethos.  The success of the programme to date owes a lot to the cooperation and support that we have received from the local community.  This programme shows clearly how much can be achieved when the community and Company work together.”

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