FREETOWN, May 4 – The London Mining company said Thursday it will invest $3 billion (2.2 billion euros) in Sierra Leone’s Marampa iron ore mine, which began production in 2011 after being closed for three decades.
The UK-based company said it has “so far invested $300 million and a further $3 billion dollars will be invested in the mining operation over the next ten years to expand its production capacity to nine million tonnes a year and 16 million tonnes a year”.
The latter refers to a planned phase two expansion of the mine, which was mined by the Sierra Leone Development Company between 1933 and 1975 until low global iron ore prices forced it into closure.
London Mining acquired in 2006 the concession, located 75 miles (126 km) north of the capital, but started the “actual development” of the mines in February 2010. Production kicked off in December last year.
Chief executive Graeme Hossie said in the statement that “the mine will draw investors attention back to the potential of Sierra Leone’s iron industry.
“Steel demand from emerging economies such as China, India and Latin American countries is on the rise and the demand for iron ore is growing.”
Sierra Leone sits on massive iron ore deposits, and another company, African Minerals, began shipping iron ore from its Tonkolili mine last November.
The exports are expected, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) figures, to contribute to a massive 35.9 percent economic growth this year in the country, which remains deeply poor ten years after the end of a civil war.