Mining-induced displacement and resettlement: The case of rutile mining communities in Sierra Leone

Author ORCID Identifier

Sigismond A. Wilson 0000-0003-3020-4373


This study examines mining-induced displacement and resettlement (MIDR) in rutile mining communities in Sierra Leone, drawing from mining and resettlement literature and utilizing political ecology and the impoverishment risk and reconstruction (IRR) model. Data for this paper was primarily obtained from semi-structured interviews of sixty participants in Kanga and Madina Villages in Bonthe District, Sierra Leone in May and December 2016. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and thematically analyzed. The findings of this study show that the execution of MIDR has primarily contributed to sustained social and economic impoverishment rather than improved the socioeconomic condition of resettled communities. Sustained impoverishment included loss of land-based resources with an adverse impact on the local livelihoods, joblessness and marginalization of the affected persons with reference to compensation for lost property. Such outcomes have reinforced unequal power relations over the processes surrounding involuntary displacement and the resettlement of displaced communities, to the disadvantage of relocated communities. Nevertheless, close examination of the resettlement effect on local actors revealed that chiefs, who are the traditional leaders, derived substantial socioeconomic benefits during resettlement, unlike women and youths who faced social and economic impoverishment. This study calls for the inclusion and active involvement of landowners in determining the modality for compensation for lost trees and crops, which may include a new policy wherein affected persons will receive an annual payment for economic trees until the rehabilitation of mined-out areas. It also underscores the need to formulate legislation that ensures the provision of alternative livelihoods for relocated persons, which would potentially enhance the reconstruction of affected communities.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.