As the government last week cancelled the license of Gerald Metals, Cape Lambert which had a license to mine the oxidized ore in 2014 is now seeking to reapply for a new license. This new move seems to be connected with the improvement of the price of Iron Ore which had dropped to below $40 during the Ebola period and prompting mining companies to abandon their projects because they had become non-profitable. Tony Sage the Executive Chairman of Cape Lambert is quoted as saying “Cape Lambert is focused on the development of the Marampa project to bring it to its long-awaited production for the benefit of our shareholders as well as the people of Sierra Leone.” He added “We look forward to working with interested parties and the government to mine and process the oxidised ore on the Marampa project licence that the company is reapplying for.” Sage furthered “We will also work with all parties that have the rights to the existing plant, rail and port which to this day lay idle.” In 2014, Cape Lambert’s Marampa Project was granted its mining licence ML05/2014 and also achieved the issuance of its environmental licence. In October 2014, Cape Lambert entered into a funding agreement with Timis Mining Corporation, which had acquired the assets of London Mining Marampa Mine Assets located on the adjacent mining licence ML02/09.
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The funding arrangement gave Timis Mining exclusive rights to purchase and exploit, at their own expense, up to 100,000,000 tonnes or any other greater amount as defined by further drilling of oxidised ore from Cape Lambert’s Marampa Project. Timis Mining later fell into administration due in part to the Ebola outbreak and a dramatic fall in the iron ore price (to as low as $US38/ tonne). In 2017, Gerald Metals obtained a new licence over ML02/09 and undertook refurbishment work on the process plant to recommence production. On 3 August 2019, the government announced that it had temporarily suspended Gerald Metals Marampa Mine licence. The government has now confirmed that on 9 October 2019, it cancelled Gerald’s licence with respect to the Marampa Mine.
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