SL Mining, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gerald Group, has announced the first shipment of iron ore concentrate, branded ‘Marampa Blue’, set sail on MV Cooper from Freetown Port (Queen Elizabeth II) in Sierra Leone on June 16.
The loading of over 55,000 t of high grade >65% Fe concentrate was completed on June 16, 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 around 62,000 t of concentrate.
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Mines and Minerals, Rado Yokie, said: “Today is a historic day. 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.”
Craig Dean, Chairman of Gerald Group and SL Mining, said: “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.”
He continued: “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% iron ore concentrate to markets in Europe and Africa.”
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’ concentrate. The company was awarded a renewable Large-Scale Mining Licence granted under the Mines and Minerals Act, 2009, in March 2017 for a term of 25 years.
The company said: “Together with Gerald Group’s international expertise in metals, finance, strategic investments and experienced management teams and employees, SL Mining aims to build a resilient and long-life iron ore mine in Sierra Leone and to expand 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.”