Sierra Leone Selection Trust

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The Sierra Leone Selection Trust was formed in 1934 following an agreement between the government of Sierra Leone and the Consolidated African Selection Trust Ltd (CAST). CAST was formed in 1924 and was part of a much larger mining finance house Selection Trust Ltd which had been founded in 1913 by Alfred Chester Beatty (an American mining magnate. Although the Oppenheimers (De Beers) invested in CAST and its subsidiaries from the 1920s and had boardroom representation, CAST was independent of the Oppenheimer empire. SLST corporation which had exclusive mineral mining rights in Sierra Leone beginning in 1935 was scheduled to last for 99 years. In 1955, the SLST abandoned mineral mining and settled on mining the Yengema and Tongo Fields. However, with the creation of the Sierra Leonean parastatal National Diamond Mining Company in 1971, the diamond company was effectively nationalized, ending the SLST in Sierra Leone.

Sir (Alfred) Chester Beatty was an American mining engineer, who founded Selection Trust Ltd in 1913. This remained a small company until after World War One, when Beatty embarked on the development, finance and administration of mining businesses throughout the world, notably in Siberia, the west coast of Africa, Serbia and Northern Rhodesia. Beatty built an expert team of geologists and mining engineers whom he sent abroad with specific instructions on the areas to explore: he never travelled to these places himself. Though many of these mining enterprises were later nationalised, Selection Trust had by then acquired valuable interests in other mines around the world. Beatty retired in 1950, and handed over control of Selection Trust to his son, Alfred Chester Beatty, who retired in 1968, the same year as his father's death. Beatty Senior was also well known for his philanthropic interests in cancer research, and his fascination with collecting oriental manuscripts and impressionist art. The Selection Trust Ltd was taken over by BP, and was known as, successively, BP Minerals International Ltd and BP Minerals Development Ltd. It was acquired from BP by the Rio Tinto Zinc Corporation Plc in 1989.


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