By Bai-Bai Sesay – One of the largest iron ore explorations drilling company in Sierra Leone and Africa in particular, African Minerals Sierra Leone Limited (AML) is now set in its global location to supply global steel markets in both Europe and the Far East come 2011.
According to officials of the company, on August this year African Minerals received its license in the Sierra Leone House of Parliament after parliamentary ratification, giving it the right to mine and export mineral deposits in its 227 square kilometer concession area with 45 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) magnetite iron ore production.
“The decision reached in parliament was remarkable. It will serve as a boost to President Ernest Bai Koroma’s Agenda for Change, which requires revenues generated locally from such arrangements,” chairman committee on mines and mineral resources Chernoh Bah said.
The company now looks set to capture over 3% of the world’s export iron ore market based in its strong relationship with the steel industry in East Asia. Chinese steel is primarily supported by blast furnace hot metal production which depends on good quality iron ore (68% Fe) as a raw material feed.
This puts African Minerals in the best position as exporter. The company’s iron ore product contains consistent, low impurity, high grade (70% Fe) iron concentrate, resulting in a favourably lower priced, higher quality iron ore product that meets steel mills’ quality requirements.
Meanwhile, Minister of Mineral Resources Alhaji Alpha Kanu said the license acquisition creates the foundation for sustainable social and economic development in the country.
“The company will be paying 25% Corporate Tax with 5% concession. The good news is that they will be working on the biggest iron ore deposit in Africa, which means a huge potential for the country’s development,” he observed.
Throughout 2009 African Minerals has continued with its existing programmes of infrastructure, health, education and employment, and introduced several new initiatives in its ongoing efforts to improve the lives of Sierra Leoneans. These initiatives endeavour to further the government’s long term plan to alleviate poverty stricken families and improve the standard of living for all.
AML has committed US$500,000 towards the Independence Anniversary Celebration of the country. More than US$500,000 was directly and indirectly spent in funding various social development projects, which included making significant advances against malaria and the rehabilitation and construction of health facilities across its operational areas.
African Minerals continues to introduce affordable and clean drinking water into areas of operations, provide education and equipment for the development of the local agricultural economy, and has built a major bridge between two previously hard-to-reach Districts.
The project’s environmental and social impact policy works towards complying with the Equator Principles, an internationally recognised set of benchmarks for managing the impacts of large projects on local communities and the environment.
African Minerals invested considerable survey resource during 2009 in preparation for the development of significant infrastructure for Port, Railway, and Process Plant infrastructure required for Tonkolili, northern Sierra Leone.
This preparatory work ensures that survey information compliant to industry best practice is available, providing seamless and accurate information for Definitive Feasibility Studies (DFS) and other activities, where precise location based information is critical for the full 180 km long project corridor.
African Minerals is already one of the largest employers in Sierra Leone and has the responsibility in setting a standard for further foreign investment projects into the country. The Company is grateful for having the highest level of support from local communities, regional government agencies and the offices of the President of Sierra Leone.
The Company is committed to carrying out all its operations in a fully responsible manner. In 2009 African Minerals achieved a good safety performance and we are committed to improving this as we move forward.
Not only is African Minerals committed to implementing infrastructure into its regions of operation, but it also works closely with the local district and community leaders to promote regional pride and unity through sporting, education and cultural events.
African Minerals strives to be a global leader in responsible mining. It is our priority to try to safeguard the environment, protect the safety of our employees, and improve the quality of life in the communities and countries in which we operate.
Over and above its legal responsibilities African Minerals has a primary and continuing commitment to protect the environment, the health, safety and security of its employees and of all personnel involved in or affected by its activities. This commitment is reflected in African Minerals’ corporate Health, Safety, Environmental and Security (HSES) Policy which sets specific Standards relating to HSES performance that is mandatory and applicable to all African Minerals’ activities.