The management of African Minerals has said that Tonkolili has good quality iron ore and it will remain their flagship project which they will work assiduously to provide infrastructural development in the country
The mining site located in Tonkolili along the Sula Mountains of the Greenstone Belt of Sierra Leone, has a good advantage for the company because of its closeness to the Tangrin Port adjacent one of the world’s natural harbour, The Queen Elizabeth 11 Quay.
This world class iron ore magnetite deposit is not only currently believed to be the third largest in the world at 5.1 Bt but independent metallurgical tests by Amdel Limited of Australia has demonstrated that Tonkolili iron ore is upgradeable to a high quality concentrate grading in excess of 68% Fe at a mass recovery of over 30%. Any concentrate impurities are low at levels less than 4.5% SiO2, 0.6% Al2O3 and 0.01% P.
A significant thickness and strike extent of hematite iron ore mineralization comprising a hematite cap and an oxidized transition zone overlies the primary magnetite resource at Tonkolili.
AML exploration work to date suggests that this may comprise in the order of one billion tonnes of material over the four deposit areas: Numbara, Simbili, Marampon and Kasafoni. Depending on the outcome of the comprehensive metallurgical test work programme currently underway, the hematite iron ore mineralization has the potential to be upgraded to a saleable product therefore providing the Company with early project cash flow at Tonkolili.
The Tonkolili iron ore project will be facilitated by the construction of world class iron ore transport, ore handling and ship loading infrastructure.
Significant progress in relation to the key infrastructure projects was made during the period. Tagrin Point, an area incorporated within the infrastructure lease, offers a rare opportunity to construct a deep water port facility.
The port facility is being designed to create available capacity to service the West Africa sub-region, enabling both Sierra Leone and neighbouring countries to export products to international markets.
Work is well advanced on the geotechnical investigation and geological mapping of Tagrin Point to establish the location of the stockyard and provide early guidance for the design and placement of the infrastructure. Environmental and hydrological baseline studies are also underway to gather wet season data as a prelude to the design of the water management systems and as an essential input to the Environmental Impact Assessment.
Planning is also well advanced for the commencement of marine and terrestrial biodiversity studies, social and environmental impact, wave and siltation studies, tidal movement modeling, departure channel optimization and other essential inputs to the DFS.
Work completed to date indicates that the construction and commissioning of a heavy haul rail system from Tonkolili to Tagrin Point is a project which is not expected to provide the Company with any material engineering hurdles.
The Pepel Port and the Pepel-Marampa railway have seen increased activity. The prospect of an early cash flow option from the sale of Tonkolili hematite combined with the opportunity to export Marampa hematite is driving the refurbishment and renewal project for this long established iron ore transport system.
Early work has commenced on the development of power options to support the Tonkolili project. The prospects for further development of Sierra Leone’s hydro-power potential remains very encouraging, however a number of options are being considered to identify viable alternatives should this low cost, renewable resource require augmentation.