SL Mining in Sierra Leone, ‘right signal’ for foreign direct investment in Sierra Leone – World Bank and IFC
SL Mining successfully completes first investment phase
Donates 100 tons of rice to communities surrounding the Marampa mine
London, February 12, 2019: Gerald Group is pleased to announce SL Mining Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary, has started commissioning at the Marampa mine in Lunsar, following completion of Phase-I of an investment program designed to rehabilitate and reconfigure the operations. With construction completed ahead of schedule in 4.5 months, SL Mining is now ramping up production of “Marampa Blue”, a high-grade iron ore with over 65% Fe concentrate, one of the highest grades in the world, and a first by any mining company in Sierra Leone.
A high-level delegation from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank visited the Marampa site on 7 February 2019, to see how the mine has been brought back to life after nearly four years and after global iron ore prices collapsed in 2014. Gayle Martin, Sierra Leone Country Manager, World Bank, and Frank Ajilore, IFC Country Representative in Sierra Leone, led the Group's delegation to SL Mining. Ms. Martin said that the visit to SL Mining was to gain insights on private sector challenges in the mining sector. Mining accounts for 77% of exports from Sierra Leone. "Our position is that private sector development is the engine for economic growth,” said Ms. Martin.
Gerald’s commitment to spend approximately US $300 million during Phases-I and -II, is aimed at bringing the project into production with a sustained output of 2 million tonnes per annum (mpta) in Phase-I, growing to 6 million tonnes per annum in Phase-II. From fewer than 70 employees in 2018, SL Mining currently employs over 650 workers to meet the growing demand of the operations and expects headcount to reach 1,000 in the next few months, and to over 1,800 once mining operations enter into the second phase. The project estimates resources at about one billion tonnes of iron ore grading 32% Fe, with potential to expand the resource, for production over the next 30 years.
Craig Dean, Chairman of SL Mining and Chairman and CEO of Gerald Group said, “We are very excited to deliver the Marampa restart ahead of schedule and on budget. SL Mining has already demonstrated the investment has led to significant job creation in Sierra Leone and has generated other direct benefits to surrounding communities. We would like to thank the Government of Sierra Leone, the local communities, the World Bank and International Finance Corporation for their continued support of Marampa. Once SL Mining is optimized for Phase-II, our goal is to make Sierra Leone’s “Marampa Blue”, an internationally recognized premium iron ore brand,” Mr. Dean added.
SL Mining also completed an initiative to donate almost 100 tons of rice to communities surrounding the Marampa mine, in support of the socio-economic welfare of families in the Lunsar region, where SL Mining runs the Country’s only operating iron-ore mine. The public rice distribution began on 23rd January at the Lunsar Community Centre and a 25 kg bag of white rice was donated to every registered household in Lunsar and the surrounding villages within the SL Mining concession. Hundreds of residents jubilantly described the initiative as “the most generous charity in the history of mining operations at Marampa”. Member of Parliament for Constituency 70, Hon Abdul Karim Koroma recounted that “such donations were unprecedented in the history of the Marampa mines”.
Paramount Chief Alie Koblo Queen II, the traditional head of the people of Marampa who was also present at SL Mining on the 7th of February, said that SL Mining had brought much-needed investment into his community. "The opening of SL Mining has and will continue to have a positive transformative impact on this chiefdom,” said PC Koblo Queen II. "Just last month 5,000 families received bags of rice from SL Mining. That is the largest ever donation of its kind made to our people,” the Paramount Chief commented.
"SL Mining is a good economic development that should receive maximum support,” said Mr. Ajilore, IFC Sierra Leone, adding, "It sends the right signal to foreign direct investors that it is back to business in Sierra Leone.” SL Mining needs a supportive business environment to meet its objectives, including access to the African Rail and Port Services (ARPS) on commercially viable terms. With over 1 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves, SL Mining can significantly expand the export of Marampa Blue from Sierra Leone to the global market.
About SL Mining
SL Mining, a limited liability company incorporated in Sierra Leone, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Gerald Group engaged in the exploration, development and production of iron ore concentrate at Marampa in the Port Loko District, the northern province of Sierra Leone. In March 2017, Gerald Group was awarded a renewable large scale Mining License granted under the Mines and Minerals Act, 2009, for a term of 25 years and the National Parliament of Sierra Leone unanimously ratified SL Mining’s Mining Licence Agreement, emphasising the strong support for the Marampa project locally, and reflecting its significant importance to the national economy.
According to the Government of Sierra Leone’s budget and statement of Economic and Financial Policies for the Financial Year, 2019, Theme: “Fiscal Consolidation for Human Capital Development”, Mr Jacob Jsus Saffa, Minister of Finance, stated: “The medium-term prospects of the economy is bright. Total real GDP is projected to grow by 5.4 percent in 2019 and 2020 and further by 5.1 percent in 2021. Excluding iron ore, the economy is projected to expand by 5.1 percent in 2019 and further by 4.9 percent in 2020 and 2021. The positive and steady economic growth will come from the following sources: (i) the expected resumption of iron ore mining at the Marampa Mines in 2019 and at the Tonkolili Mines in 2021 as well as expected increased investments in diamond, rutile and gold mining activities. (ii)…”
About Gerald Group
Gerald Group is one of the world’s largest independent and employee-owned metal trading houses. Founded in 1962 in the United States, Gerald moved headquarters to London in 2017. Led by Chairman and CEO Craig Dean, the Group has approximately US10 billion in turnover. Gerald is a dedicated and trusted partner to leading miners and processors, industrial consumers and major financial institutions and has market presence in all regions of the world. The Group operates trading hubs in Shanghai, Stamford and Switzerland for the merchanting of non-ferrous, ferrous and precious metals, as well as related concentrates and raw materials. Gerald aims to contribute to world trade and economic development in a sustainable and responsible manner. The Group’s global footprint, conservative risk management culture, expert market intelligence, deeply experienced and innovative trading desks combined with logistics, storage and structured finance solutions, are complimented by strategic relationships, enhancing the business’ capability to provide customers access to a diverse and steady supply of resources.