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Sierra Leone revokes Tonkolili, Marampa iron ore licenses amid mining crackdown

The government of Sierra Leone revoked several licenses of mining projects in the country, including Shandong Iron & Steel Co. Ltd.'s Tonkolili and Gerald Metals LLC's Marampa iron ore properties, Financial Times reported Aug. 2.

Tonkolili, which was placed into receivership earlier this year, challenged the decision in the country's high court, arguing that the order was invalid as it had paid all fees and royalties. Gerald Metals temporarily suspended operations while insisting that it complied with the country's laws, the report said.

The development comes after new Mines and Mineral Resources Minister Foday Rado Yokie reportedly condemned miners and claimed that Sierra Leoneans were not benefitting from the country's own resources.

The West African country also has large reserves of diamonds and rutile. Mining accounts for around three-quarters of the country's exports, the report said.