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London-listed African Minerals, the Africa-focussed mining company operating the 74% owned Tonkolili iron ore mine in Sierra Leone, has achieved its target 20 Mtpa export run rate during Q2 2013.

The company said that following the completion and commissioning of the high capacity second car dumper at Pepel Port, 10 Cape Size Vessels sailed over 30 days, from 18 May to 16 June 2013.

African Minerals added that each of the elements of the integrated mine and infrastructure have successfully operated at above target capacity during the period, demonstrating that the project can operate at a sustained export run rate of 20 Mtpa.

“It is testament to the capability of the team at African Minerals that the practical demonstration of a sustainable run rate of 20 Mtpa, has come so soon after the physical installation of capacity. The No. 2 dumper at Pepel was commissioned with first ore being offloaded on 29 April 2013. Of equal importance is the fact that these operating accomplishments were achieved during the start of the rainy season in Sierra Leone with 355 mm of rain falling at the Port facilities since the beginning of May, an early demonstration of the success of our wet season shipping strategy in FY13.

“Our focus now is to continue to successfully manage our production and infrastructure through the wet season, and we remain on track to meet our previous guidance of exporting 13-15 Mt in 2013, and to bring the cost of production down to circa $30/t by year end,” said African Minerals’ CEO Keith Calder.

The company said it expects to report its Q2 IMS in late July, at which time more detail regarding production will be presented.

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