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AML pays Le 353 Million to farmers

AML pays Le 353 Million to farmers

African Minerals has paid Le353 million as compensation to some 300 farmers whose crops were affected by its operations in Buya Romende in Port Loko, Makarie Gbanti in Bombali and Kalasongoya and Kafe Simera in the Tonkolili districts.

The farmland which was particularly affected by the railway was assessed by the appropriate authorities in the ministry of agriculture. A parallel assessment was also carried out, in collaboration with crop owners, by community liaison officers of AML who prepared the assessment forms to be witnessed by chiefs and other authorities in the different localities.

Payment in cheques was done openly at the court barriers for the purpose of transparency and accountability, while Guarantee Trust Bank cashed the cheques and paid the farmers to ensure that thorough and alternative records, independent of the company’s, were kept.

Meanwhile, on August 18 the company announced that it was pleased to provide an update as to progress at the Tonkolili Iron Ore Mine project, which remains on schedule to deliver First Ore On Ship (“FOOS”) in Q4 2011, as per previous guidance, with an expanded capacity of 15 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa.)

“Following various changes of scope during construction, management has completed a review of the operational capacity of the various elements of the Phase I project, and have confirmed… the current Tonkolili mining plan and equipment will sustain a production rate of in excess of 15Mtpa; Rail Infrastructure will support a peak capacity of 16.2Mtpa; Pepel port infrastructure is capable of supporting inload and outload rates of in excess of 16.2Mtpa.

“The expanded scope project will have the combined capacity to achieve sustained production from Tonkolili Phase I of 15Mtpa from 2013 onwards. The increase in production of Phase 1 of the operation to 15Mtpa has also been reviewed by SRK Consulting (UK) Ltd who has reported to AML that it considers these plans to be practical and achievable assuming the work currently underway and planned is completed as currently envisaged.”

In order to de-risk the construction of the railway from the possible effects of the rainy season, a mine earthmoving equipment was redeployed to support the civil works at the railway. As a result of these interventions the company assured that the civil and excavation works for the rail lineament were now complete, and that it was expected that the railway would be fully commissioned at the end of September.

“All civil and excavation work at the Pepel port is now complete, and the first stockyard is due to be commissioned during September. Both the rail and the port are now effectively de-risked from the adverse effects of the rainy season,” the statement said.

Commenting on the ability to expand production to 15Mtpa, Executive Chairman Frank Timis noted that: “Overall the Board of the Company is pleased with the achievement of the increase in Phase I capacity from 12Mtpa to 15Mtpa, with a very low capital intensity of this expansion of just $44 per annual tonne, allowing African Minerals to take advantage of the continued strong markets for iron ore. The overrun costs of the project are in part due to the steps that we have taken to de-risk the construction of the rail and port ahead of the rainy season, to deliver the project on schedule by Q4 2011.”

Tanu Jalloh, PRO African Minerals

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