Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 October 2021:
Gerald Group subsidiary Marampa Mines Limited – one of the world’s leading metals merchants, has completed loading of its first Capesize and set sail carrying over 175,000 WMT of premium grade iron ore concentrate.
The Capesize, M.V. Athenian Phoenix, completed cargo loading and departed from Freetown Outer Anchorage yesterday evening – 28th October 2021.
In a statement published today, Gerald says it has implemented a new logistics solution for marine transportation of material from MML’s own Thofeyim River Terminal to Freetown Port Harbour, by purchasing its own fleet of river coasters and a transhipper, thereby enhancing efficiencies in the export logistics process.
This export solution the company explains, does not rely on 3rd party contracted river barges or smaller geared Ocean-Going Vessels which are less efficient. With the new logistics solution, Capesize vessels are able to be loaded efficiently at a deep-water anchorage at Freetown Harbour on a consistent and stable basis.
Frederic Lotti, Marampa Mines’ COO and the Group’s Global Head of Investments, said: “I am pleased that ‘Marampa BlueTM’ high grade iron ore concentrate routed through the Thofeyim River Terminal and the Loko river completed loading on a Capesize vessel for the very first time in history of Marampa, and set sail on Thursday evening, the 28 October 2021. Loading capesize vessels will materially improve efficiencies in our overall supply chain, a key objective not only in reducing our operating cost, but also in advancing our ESG plan and minimising our carbon footprint”.
Timothy Musa Kabba, Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources in the Sierra Leone Government, added: “Sierra Leone’s economic growth is largely based on export earnings from natural resources, particularly from iron ore. My ministry continues to work on the development of the mines and mineral resources sector at a key time in Sierra Leone’s pathway to economic stability and recovery. The restart of Marampa Mines represents a crucial step forward in our new direction”.
With the export of the current Capesize, Marampa Mines is about two-thirds through exporting its initial “Stockpile” of ~707k tonnes of iron ore concentrate, beneficiated by SL Mining Limited and known as Marampa BlueTM, following an out of court settlement, which ended a long-standing dispute between the Government of Sierra Leone and SL Mining.
Today, Marampa Mines said it has paid USD 10 million to the Government of Sierra Leone as first instalment of a fixed sum of USD 20 million as the Stockpile is monetised. The second instalment of USD 10 million is due on 31 December 2021.
Marampa Mines successfully restarted mining and processing of Marampa BlueTM on 1 September 2021, and will raise production of >65% iron ore concentrate from 2M tonnes per year to 3.25M tonnes per year within 12 months.
The company says it will concurrently look at options to implement major expansions to leverage on its compliant mineral resources of approximately 1.7B tonnes of ore.
Today, MML employs around 800 people on-site, of which approximately 90% are Sierra Leoneans, and the Project is expected to create a total of 1,400 jobs by early 2022.
The Company says it is implementing a comprehensive modular training program for Sierra Leonean staff, including training women for the workforce and within the community.
Prices for iron ore, which is the main ingredient in steel production, have soared over the past year to reach record highs of $240 per tonne in May, driven by strong demand from China. China has been seeking new sources of iron ore amid a trade war with its top supplier Australia. Botswana was a recent addition to China’s growing list of suppliers.
About Marampa Mines Limited
Marampa Mines Limited a subsidiary of Gerald Group Limited, is engaged in the development and production of iron ore concentrate from estimated resources of approximately 1.7B tonnes at Marampa in the Port Look District of the northern province of Sierra Leone. The Company, 90% owned by the Gerald Group, with the remaining 10% owned by the Government of Sierra Leone, is committed to being a globally competitive, world-class iron ore concentrate producer.
Through sustainable investment, expertise and long-term commitment to the Marampa Project, MML aims to materially increase production of >65% Fe quality iron ore concentrate branded Marampa BlueTM, among the highest quality in Africa and one of the cleanest grades globally. The Company aims to be a significant contributor to Sierra Leone’s economy and local communities. ESG initiatives are aimed at embracing the challenges relating to climate change, women advancement, farming and education to build a better and sustainable future where the Company operates.