Mining Systems with CEMMATS 

IDMP Program to Develop and Test SMARTER Diamond Mining Systems with CEMMATS

The Integrated Diamond Management and Policy (IDMP) program will be contracting with Sierra Leone’s leading mining engineering firm, CEMMATS, to design mining systems that are more conducive to proper environmental management.


Artisanal diamond mining cooperatives wishing to participate in the Integrated Diamond Management (IDM) program will be required to reclaim their mining sites for alternative uses.  The IDMP program will use this opportunity to help develop approaches to mining that are more sustainable.  Thus, these systems are called Sustainable Mining by Artisanal Miners – or SMARTER. 


In developing this “SMARTER” model the program seeks to introduce improved mining techniques – complementing the institutional and market innovations that comprise IDM– that would avoid much of the environmental degradation and wastage that appears to occur at most artisanal diamond mining sites today.  In keeping with the DIPAM objective of maximizing benefits to communities, the SMARTER model will help cooperatives to mine in as efficient a manner as possible, given the low-capital/labor-intensive technologies they will be pursuing.  “Sustainable”, in the SMARTER moniker, refers to both environmental and economic feasibility, both for the mining concern and for the community at large.


CEMMATS will utilize its years of experience, and consultation with local miners, to develop SMARTER Diamond Mining Systems, it will train cooperatives in that system, test the system in the field with those cooperatives, and monitor the system that will be fixed at a capital/technology mix appropriate to most mining cooperatives in Sierra Leone.  The expectation is that application of this model by other mining concerns in Sierra Leone would result in greater yields and far less environmental degradation.  It is hoped that this improved model will demonstrate the feasibility of reclaiming land while ongoing digging and washing at a site continues, thereby encouraging miners to build in reclamation costs from the beginning, reducing the likelihood of miners moving on to another site prior to reclaiming the current site, and greatly facilitating government and community monitoring of environmental compliance.


We hope that the process of developing the SMARTER mining systems approach and applying it in the field will yield lessons that may help to inform government environmental regulation procedures.   If so, we will work with Ministry of Mineral Resources staff in Kono to draft a policy brief on procedures that would help make environmental regulation by the Ministry and traditional leaders more effective and help conserve the natural resource endowment for uses beyond mining.  


Funding for this analysis is provided by USAID.