The linkages between iron ore mining, the environment and human health in Sierra Leone

Authors: Sigismond Wilson*, Rogers State University
Topics: Natural Resources, Environment, Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: iron ore mining, environmental change, air quality, occupational health, community health, Sierra Leone.
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 6, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Although mineral exploitation can be economically beneficial to a country or region, it also incurs environmental and health costs, especially at the local level. The physical process of harnessing mineral resources can result in land degradation, water and air pollution, with significant health implications. While some studies have examined the impact of mining on the environment, limited attention has been given to how mining-induced air quality affects occupational and community health in Sub-Saharan African countries. This current study examines the relationship between iron ore mining, the environment and human health in Northern Sierra Leone. Specifically, the study focuses on 1) the ramifications of iron ore mining on the environment; 2) the potential effects of iron ore mining on occupational and community health, especially respiratory illnesses; and 3) bottom-up measures aimed at informing policies geared towards mitigating iron ore-induced environmental and health problems in Sierra Leone. Data for this study was obtained from household surveys of iron ore mining communities, key informant interviews, focus groups, and secondary data. Additional data was garnered from hospital records in the study areas.

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