A boomtown is rising in the jungle- covered mountains of Sierra Leone. Bumbuna, estimated population 12,000, just got a new bank. A growing Sunday congregation spills out from underneath blue tarps that serve as a makeshift church. In hills where armed men once abducted children, school kids now get coloring books featuring a smiling bulldozer ridden by the cartoon character Bob the Builder. Outside of town, the mining company handing them out is loading bright yellow Caterpillar trucks as it unearths iron ore, giving Sierra Leone the fastest-growing economy in the world.
Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third- largest mining company, said its plan to sell diamond assets is “well advanced,” while the divestment of aluminum operations has stalled after prices for the lightweight metal fell.