Marampa bullish on expansion in Sierra Leone

President Julius Maada and Craig Dean, Chairman and CEO of Gerald Group and Marampa Mines in Sierra Leone last week. Image credit: Gerald Group

Marampa bullish on expansion in Sierra Leone  

Marampa bullish on expansion in Sierra Leone  

Marampa Mines, a subsidiary of Gerald Group, last week commissioned a 3.25 million dry metric tonnes per annum (Mdtpa) output iron ore concentrate expansion project at the company’s mine in Lunsar, in the Port Loko district of Sierra Leone.

Julius Maada, the president of Sierra Leone and other dignitaries visited Marampa last week when the expansion was announced.

When restarting production at the mine in September last year, Marampa (MML) immediately set to work on construction of the expansion of the project from 2.0 (M2.0 phase) Mdtpa to 3.25 Mdtpa (M3.25 phase) of >65% Fe iron ore concentrate branded Marampa BlueTM.

In his keynote statement, Bio said that with the Marampa mine back in full scale operations, exports of high value products such as Marampa BlueTM iron ore concentrate from Sierra Leone will increase year on year and deliver a long-awaited boost to the economic growth and stability of Sierra Leone.

“I share my sense of hope and confidence with all of you for the continued success of the Marampa mines and for new inward investment in our natural resources sectors across Sierra Leone,” said Bio.

According to Craig Dean, Chairman and CEO of Gerald Group and Marampa Mines the company’s shared vision is to optimise the beneficiation of up to ~1.7 billion tonnes of compliant resources in the new Marampa, which combines Marampa North and South concessions and creating opportunities by developing a sustainable and resilient mining operation, so Sierra Leoneans significantly benefit from MML’s growth and success

Frederic Lotti, MML’s COO explained that the M3.25 expansion mainly includes the addition of a new feed point and a new product line to accommodate the additional feed and product volume, as well as the addition of new set of spiral blocks to increase processing capacity, and an expansion of the mining fleet with large 90MT capacity excavators to increase mine volume rate. Lotti also presented MML’s expansion plan for 7 Mdtpa output, more than doubling current plant nameplate capacity.

According to Lotti the high Fe content in the Marampa BlueTM product helps to achieve a lower carbon footprint for MML’s customers in the steelmaking process, and in the supply chain, allowing MML to play a role in the world’s energy transition process.

“MML’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives are aimed at embracing the challenges relating to climate change, women in the workforce (currently women make up ~17% of MML’s direct employees), farming and education through development of sustainable projects that make a meaningful difference in our host communities,” said Lotti.

“MML is working in parallel on the modernisation and digital transformation of our equipment monitoring, supply chain and finance management systems. Implementation of these systems will result in paperless processes and the utilisation of online tools and mobile devices by our staff performing these functions.”

Implementing big data collection

Instrumentation will implement big data collection capability to allow operation and maintenance teams to monitor the performance and health of equipment remotely and in a far more efficient way. Gerald Group plans to further expand MML’s output to 7 Mdtpa (M7) within the next year, bringing material capital investment to the country.

As part of the expansion process, Lotti said that options to access additional power and renewable or lower carbon intensive sources of energy are under consideration. “Discussion for operational access to Pepel’s rail and port facilities are underway and will contribute significantly to MML’s streamlining of export operations and reduction in carbon footprint, key components to ensure the future competitiveness and sustainability of the mining operations,” said Lotti.

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