Global mining code a benchmark for the industry, says lead consultant
Last month saw the launch of a model mining code from the World Initiative of Mining Lawyers (WIOML), designed to influence and guide mining countries in attracting investment and securing fair benefits from mineral exploitation within their borders.
The code has been welcomed by Andrew van Zyl, partner and principal consultant engineers and scientists, SRK Consulting. Van Zyl was speaking at the WIOML conference in France, where the code was officially launched.
“The code provides a good starting point for countries without a code in place yet, it also provides a useful benchmark against which a country could compare its existing code.” He said.
Applying a clear and reasonable mining code will go a long way to attracting investors, said Van Zyl, and should be augmented by a culture of constructive collaboration among mining stakeholders – which could gain traction while the global economy waits for commodity prices to improve.
“There is little appetite or ability right now to raise the billions of dollars needed to develop large mining projects,” he said.
“But there is the time to invest much smaller amounts in the vital but neglected process of forging agreement and trust between miners, governments, communities, NGOs and other interested parties.”
Mining Global has spoken with Al Gourley, Head parent of Mining at Fasken Martineau and Chairman & Director of the World Initiative of Mining Lawyers. Look out in the coming months for the interview and editorial exploring the mining code, it’s impact on the industry and how WIMOL hopes to influence a culture of change across the global industry.
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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.”