African Minerals to develop iron ore logistics in Sierra Leone

July 1, 2008

July 1st (Steel Guru) – Reuters reported Mr Frank Timis the chairman of African Minerals Limited as saying that the company will invest more than USD 300 million to develop a deep water port and reinvigorate Sierra Leone’s railway over the next two years.

African Minerals in a statement said that the development, which includes upgrading the defunct narrow gauge railway to standard gauge, will link the company’s two iron ore mines in the north of the country to the deep water port site at Pepel, 180 kilometers away.

Mr Timis said that “The railway has not worked since the 1970s so this is big. It will be finished within 18 to 22 months, depending on the supply of steel from countries like India, China, Ukraine and Romania.” He said that the two iron ore sites are a 209 square kilometers concession at Tonkolili in the north of the country about 180 kilometers from Pepel and a larger site nearer to the port at Marampa, which operated for about 30 years until it closed in 1970.

Mr Timis, talking of the Tonkolili site said that we estimate conservatively that it’s potentially over 2 billion tonnes. He said the iron ore mine had an expected lifespan of 40 to 60 years and would be operating within three to four years once the infrastructure, including a power plant is in place.

Mr Timis said we have invested USD 110 million since it started in 2003. The whole thing will cost more than USD 3 billion. We have the backers.

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