Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 June 2019:
The government of Sierra Leone can once again begin to breathe a sigh of relief, following the announcement by SL Mining Limited – a wholly owned subsidiary of Gerald Group, that its first shipment of iron ore concentrate – branded ‘Marampa Blue’ to China, has set sail on MV Cooper from the Queen Elizabeth II Sea Port in Freetown.
Sierra Leone has lost hundreds of millions of dollars in export revenue, following the collapse of iron ore mining with the closure of African Minerals and Shandong iron mining Ltd. over four years ago.
The country’s economy is yet to fully recover from the twin shock of the Ebola crisis and the fall in global market price of iron ore in 2013-2016.
(Photo Below: British Prime Minister – Mrs Theresa May and Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio in London early this month).
But today, there is ray of hope for Sierra Leone’s government revenue, with the resumption of iron ore exporting by SL Mining, with much credit to the leadership of president Julius Maada Bio, whose tough approach to governance – backed by a strong fiscal discipline, is winning the hearts and minds of foreign investors, after winning the 2018 elections.
The company said that loading of over 55,000 tonnes of high grade (greater than 65 percent) iron ore concentrate was completed five days ago, for sailing the same day.
This maiden shipment will be delivered to customers in China, with a second shipment expected to leave soon on MV Ultralaz carrying approximately 62,000 tonnes of iron ore concentrate.
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Mines and Minerals, Rado Yokie said that iron ore exports had been dormant for four years: “Today is a historic day,” said Mr. Yokie.
“As Marampa Blue is a very high-grade ore, and coming from Sierra Leone, it sends a good signal to the world that this Country is ready for business. It is a feather to Sierra Leone’s mining cap,” he added.
Craig Dean, Chairman of Gerald Group and SL Mining said: “SL Mining’s first shipment departed from Freetown Port safe and sound. This is a proud day and a key milestone for SL Mining, and for our employees and contractors who have been working on this complex project to restore production of iron ore at the Marampa mine, alongside local communities and the Government of Sierra Leone. I would like to thank everyone involved.”
“SL Mining forms an important strategic asset in Gerald Group’s global portfolio. Our goal is to make ‘Marampa Blue’ an internationally recognised premium grade iron ore brand. As we continue to build on our progress so far, to deliver sustainable and responsible mining in Marampa, we intend to expand the delivery of high-grade >65 percent iron ore concentrate to markets in Europe and Africa,” Mr. Dean added.
Located in the Port Loko District, in the northern province of Sierra Leone, SL Mining is engaged in the exploration, development and production of ‘Marampa Blue’, a high-grade iron ore concentrate (with >65 percent Fe content).
SL Mining was awarded a renewable Large-Scale Mining License granted under the Mines and Minerals Act, 2009 In March 2017 for a term of 25 years, emphasizing the strong support for the Marampa project locally, and reflecting its significant importance to the national economy.
Together with Gerald Group’s international expertise in metals, finance, strategic investments and experienced management teams and employees, SL Mining says that it aims to build a resilient and long-life iron ore mine in Sierra Leone, as well as expand its operations by integrating mining, processing and rail and port logistics, alongside playing a responsible role in the economic and social stability of the Lunsar region.
About Gerald Group
Gerald Group is one of the world’s oldest and largest independent and employee-owned metal trading houses. Founded in 1962 in the United States, Gerald is headquartered in London. Led by Chairman and CEO Craig Dean, the Group has approximately US$10 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.