African Minerals Chairman Frank Timis on Track with Tonkolili Iron Ore Project
African Minerals Limited (AML), the exploration, development and mining company with rights to potentially one of Africa’s largest iron ore deposits at its Tonkolili project in Sierra Leone is on track to meet production forecasts.
The company, which previously operated as Sierra Leone Diamond Corporation, was bought in 2005 by London-based Romanian-Australian businessmen Frank Timis, who presides as Chairman.
He successfully achieved an Alternative Investment Market (AIM) listing for the company renamed as African Minerals in 2007. The company holds rights to the Tonkolili and Marampa iron mines, which it discovered containS around 10 billion tonnes of iron ore.
The Tonkolili Iron Ore Project has 60-plus years of mine life and is being developed in a number of staged expansions. The current project operations are expected to stabilise at 20-million tons a year during 2014.
The next stage of project expansion, Phase II, now intends production to increase further and include the production of high grade concentrate with the first concentrator plant expected to enter production in 2016.
African Minerals has also developed significant port and rail infrastructure to support the Tonkolili operations via its subsidiary African Rail and Port Services, in which the Government of Sierra Leone has a 10 percent free carried interest.
The Tonkolili project has attracted investment from Shandong Iron and Steel Group with owns 25 percent with AML holding 75 percent. African Rail and Port Services is currently owned 75 percent by AML
Following construction completion in May last year, the company has been commissioning and ramping up the Tonkolili operation to meet a sustainable 20 million tons a year run rate.
That figure is expected to stabilise this year and 25 percent by SISG with the Government of Sierra Leone having the right to a 10 percent free carried interest from AML.
The 51-year-old Timis, who was born in Romania, grew up in Australia and now lives in London gained notoriety in the past for his business dealings specifically over his AIM listed company Regal Petroleum.
Regal bought a stake in a Greek oilfield that the board hoped would be found to have one of the largest oil deposits in Europe.
However, hype around the projected production rates led to a hike in Regal’s share price and a market valuation of £500million, one of the highest valued companies on the AIM market at the time.
Many leading investment houses invested in the company, but just days later Timis secretly agreed to sell the company’s assets and resigned as Chief Executive of the company.
Two years later it became clear the Greek oil field contained oil, but not in the anticipated commercial amounts and the stock price crashed.
Today, Timis is a billionaire with a net worth estimated at £1.34 billion and in 2012 he became the richest Romanian in the world.
As a philanthropist he supports a number of good causes particularly children’s charities and organisations he funds includes Street Child of Sierra Leone, the Carmen Timis Centre for Children and he Foundation for the Relief of Disabled Orphans.
London-based AML is focused on the continued development and mining of the world class iron ore deposit at Tonkolili and its related rail and port infrastructure.
The project is currently the largest employer in Sierra Leone and is set to become the largest contributor to the country’s GDP rate growth.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.