Sierra Leone's gold exports had plunged three-fold, and diamond exports nearly halved in the first half of 2015 due to the recent Ebola outbreak, said the government officials on Saturday.
The National Minerals Agency (NMA) said, in a statement, gold exports went from 11,751 grams in January to 3,900 grams in June and July with revenues plummeting from $433,000 to $132,000.
Advertisement"The whooping 297 percent drop in gold export is not unexpected given that the deadly Ebola virus was raging through the countryside by then driving the workforce from the mining fields and mine owners from the country," the NMA statement said.
The statement also said that the diamond exports dropped from a high of 64.5 thousand carats in April to 35.6 thousand carats in July.
Already weak after years of civil war, the Ebola epidemic has devastated the mining and agriculture industries in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
According to the World Health Organisation, the three countries account for more than 99% of some 11,300 people killed by the disease since late 2013, Fueled by foreign investments, Sierra Leone had made an outstanding progress in recovering from a brutal 11-year civil war and the economy grew by 11.3% in 2013.
However, according to the World Bank, Ebola slashed the growth to 4% in 2014 and the country's economy is expected to go into recession, contracting by 2% this year.