Sierra Leone

Background

Koidu Limited is a diamond mining company that operates in Sierra Leone and is privately owned by BSG Resources Limited (BSGR) through its subsidiary Octéa Limited. The company has failed to properly relocate residents in Koidu, who have suffered various abuses as the result of its operations, and paid inadequate compensation for any losses.

Residents who have not been relocated find it increasingly difficult to farm their lands because waste rock and rubble from Koidu Ltd.’s operations have covered much of their farmland. “Koidu Limited has destroyed our lives,” said Madam Kumba King, Tankoro Queen Mother andrepresentative of the Marginalized Affected Property Owners Association. “We used to farm and live in peace, but now our lands and water sources are poisoned and covered in rubble. Our homes are shaken by explosives every day.”

Residents have also reported that their health has suffered. Dust from the mining operations often covers the community and causes headaches, difficulty breathing, and a burning sensation in the residents’ eyes. The operations have also contaminated the water, and many residents develop skin rashes and digestive problems they did not previously experience. High stress from living with frequent blasting further causes headaches, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and respiratory problems in the community.

Despite this, Koidu Ltd. has failed both to properly relocate the residents in the mining concessions and to adequately compensate the individuals for their losses. Even for those who have been relocated, the relocation package and site were inadequate. Houses in the resettlement site lack structural integrity and began to crack just months after construction. The resettlement sites also do not rise to the plaintiffs’ standard of living prior to the onset of mining activities and relocation, and provide their residents no opportunities for making a living.

The company also has yet to answer for violence in 2007 and 2012, in which security agents fired into crowds, killing two bystanders and injuring multiple people in both incidents. Koidu Ltd.’s private security forces were seen driving the police in vehicles and facilitating the attacks in both years. A government inquiry into the 2007 incident assigned responsibility to the police and the company and gave recommendations for reform, but they were disregarded and no one was held legally responsible.

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