London Mining Targets 3.6m tonnes…USD$250 MILLION EARMARKED

By Abu Bakarr Kargbo

The London Mining Company has announced the arrival of a new floating crane, which will improve the company’s export capacity. This also forms part of the company’s upgrading of its marine logistics. The heavy lifting vessel is the second to arrive in the country. The first, called the ‘Pride of Marampa’was commissioned last year.

 The new floating crane

The new floating crane

Mr. Osman Lahai, the Company’s Head of Media Relations and Communications has informed this press over the weekend that the Company can boast of four barges and a sea-river vessel. It would be recalled that the London Mining Company produced 1.5 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate last year and the Company is targeting 3.6million tonnes 2013.

According to Mr. Lahai, the Company has already hit a target of 706,000 wet metric tonnes of iron ore concentrates in the first quarter of this year, and the arrival of the new floating crane will enable the Company to realize an annual target of 3.6 million tonnes in 2013.  “As we progressed, we intend to continue to upgrade our barging and shipping logistics at the Marampa operations,” says Mr. Lahai.

“In addition to delivering an expected reduction in barge cycle and providing back up to the existing Floating Offshore Transshipment Platform, ‘Pride of Marampa,’ the FCTU will also provide accelerated loading capability which is of particular benefit during the wet season,” he added.

The Company started production at the Marampa Mine in December 2011. Marampa was formerly operated by the Sierra Leone Development Company and William Baird between 1933 and 1975. It reached peak production peak of 2.5metric tonnes per annual year in the 1960s before low iron ore prices forced its closure. Continuing weak market economics, outdated processing, technology and civil war prevented the re-development of the mine for over 30 years, until London Mining Company acquired the mining licence in 2006.

The Company achieved its target of over 1.5 metric tonne of high quality iron ore in 2012 and it is expanding its production capacity to 5metric tone per year over the course of 2013. Marampa has a resource of over 1 billion tonnes of iron ore and London Mining is reviewing ways to further expand production beyond the 5metric tone per year.

The current Marampa Mines operation is centered on processing and combination of tailings from previous operations and highly weathered primary ore. Attributable operating costs for 2012 was USD 77/t in line with previous guidance at HY 2012 and they expect operation costs of USD 50/t at the 5Mtpa run rate. Total forecast capital expenditure to complete the 5Mtpa operation since 2011 is expected to be USD 340 million of which USD 163 million was spent to achieve first production. The first plant commenced operation in December 2011 and 1.5Mt of concentrate was produced in 2012. Capital intensity for the initial 5Mtpa now stands at USD 68/annual tonne of capacity, still less than a third of the industry average of USD 219/t.

A second processing plant has now been commissioned and combined with further upgrades a run rate of 5Mtpa is expected to be achieved by the end of 2013.The scope of the 5Mtpa operation now includes increased power generation, thickening and pumping capacity as well as an additional belt filter and shore protection at the Thofeyim River Terminal. This will contribute to a more robust and efficient operation. “We are working on a low capital expenditure investment plan to extend operations after the exhaustion of the tailings resource in 2017” The spokesman said, and added, “initial work implies that the plant can be modified to process both weathered and unweathered ore types for an estimated investment of USD 250 million, thereby extending the mine life to over 30 years”

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