Anglo American bids adieu to the Middle East
Anglo American is exiting the Middle East business, announcing it has completed the sale of its Tarmac operation in the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar.
The deal, which will see Anglo sell its interests in the operating joint venture entities to Colas Moyen Orient SAS, a subsidiary of Colas SA, marks the final exit by Anglo American from the Tarmac businesses, which was acquired in 1999. Anglo said the terms of the transaction were confidential.
As part of a “radical portfolio restructuring” plan announced last month, the sale of Tarmac represents new beginnings for Anglo. The company has embarked on a fire sale of assets to reduce debt and focus on its 20 to 25 core mines, which will include diamonds, industrial minerals such as platinum and bulk commodities, including iron ore and coal, as well as cutting 85,000 employees, or 63 percent of its workforce.
Following its restructuring plan, Chief Executive Mark Cutifani promised Anglo American would be a “very different company.”
“We are setting out an accelerated and more aggressive strategic restructuring of the portfolio to focus it around our ‘Priority 1’ assets, being those assets that are best placed to deliver free cash flow through the cycle and that constitute the core long term value proposition of Anglo American,” Cutifani said in a company statement.
“While we have continued to deliver our business restructuring and performance objectives across the board, the severity of commodity price deterioration requires bolder action. We will set out the detail of the future portfolio in February, with the aim of delivering a resilient Anglo American and a step change in the transformation of the Company.”
Gerald Group resolves iron ore dispute with Sierra Leone
Gerald Group, the US commodity trader, will pay Sierra Leone $20mn and cede a 10% stake in an iron ore project as part of the resolution to a nearly two-year dispute that led to the shutdown of production, the two sides revealed.
Gerald's wholly-owned subsidiary SL Mining filed for arbitration in August 2019 over a royalty payment dispute and suspended the Marampa mine the following month. Sierra Leone's government responded by cancelling its mining licence.
As part of the agreement signed on Friday, Sierra Leone will take a non-dilutable 10% stake in a new company that will replace SL Mining and resume operations at Marampa by June 1, Gerald said in a statement.
Gerald will make two $10mn payments this year and will have the immediate right to ship its current stockpile of about 707,000 tonnes of iron ore, it said.
Both sides will withdraw their legal claims before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the statement added.
Gerald’s chairman and CEO Craig Dean commented: "I am delighted that we have been able to resolve our differences and have a fresh start and new beginning with the government of Sierra Leone."
Sierra Leone's Mines Minister Timothy Kabba told a news conference on Tuesday that the agreement was a milestone for the country.
"Whatever the pain we may have borne or dreaded throughout these two years ... this outcome justifies our action," he said.
Gerald estimates that Marampa holds about 1 billion tonnes of iron ore with a potential lifespan of 30 years.
Back in 2019, Dean spoke with Mining about the development of Marampa and commented: "SL Mining offers a substantial opportunity for Gerald Group as our Marampa mine in Sierra Leone is set to deliver six million tonnes of high-grade iron ore during its operational life. If you analyse the iron ore market it has transformed, even from a couple of years ago when prices were very low. Now prices have stabilised we’re in a favourable position with our first shipments leaving for China.
"Our goal is to make ‘Marampa Blue’ an internationally recognised premium grade iron ore brand. We intend to expand the delivery of high-grade 65% iron ore concentrate to markets in Europe and Africa.”