1 May 2012
African Minerals Limited ("AML" or "the Company")
African Minerals Limited announces that Alan Watling, Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") of the Company, has notified the Board of his intention to retire and today resigned from the Board and as CEO. The successful commencement of operations at the Tonkolili project in December 2011 marked completion of the 14 month development from a greenfield project into a fully integrated mine, rail and port operation, which was overseen by Mr Watling. Mr Watling will be available to support the Company as required to effect a handover of responsibilities.
The Board would like to thank Mr Watling for his considerable contribution to the Company over the last three years. A search process has been initiated for a replacement CEO to continue the next phase of the Tonkolili mine development. The Company's Executive Chairman will assume Mr Watling's responsibilities until a replacement has been appointed.
A team from SNC Lavalin has been appointed to oversee the completion of the remaining elements of the Phase 1 project, which is planned to ramp up to a 20Mtpa capacity by year end, and to assist in the transition from construction to full scale operations.
Executive Chairman, Frank Timis, commented:
"I have a great relationship with Alan and have valued his efforts in achieving the major milestone of producing the first iron ore exports from Sierra Leone in more than a generation.
"On behalf of the entire Board I would like to express my gratitude for his advice and guidance as well as for his broad contribution as part of the Company's leadership team. I understand and support his desire to retire after his success at African Minerals and wish him the very best for the long term future. During the transition we all look forward to his continued valuable contribution."
Alan Watling commented:
"What we have achieved in three short years has been an exciting and fulfilling experience. The Company is now making large scale commitments which relate to the next stage of expansion and entering a new chapter. It is therefore appropriate for me to pass the torch for Phase 2 and beyond to a new CEO. The strong operating team that we have brought together remains intact and will deliver the run rate of 20Mtpa by year end."
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African Minerals Limited
+44 20 3435 7600
+44 20 7321 0000
Michael Oke / Andy Mills
+44 207 545 8000
African Minerals is developing its Tonkolili iron ore project in Sierra Leone, with a JORC compliant resource of 12.8Bnt. The project, which currently has a 60+ year mine-life, is being developed in 3 phases. Phase I is expected to produce 20 million tonnes of iron ore per annum at full capacity.
Phase II now contemplates an expanded production facility at the mine to produce an additional 30Mtpa of 64% high grade hematite concentrate and the establishment of an expanded port facility at Tagrin Point.
African Minerals and its contractors currently employ approximately 9,700 people in Sierra Leone, 82% of who are Sierra Leonean nationals.
The Company has also developed significant port and rail infrastructure to support the operation of the project, via its subsidiary African Rail and Port Services (SL) Limited ("ARPS"), in which the Government of Sierra Leone ("GoSL") has a 10% free carried interest.
The Tonkolili project companies are currently owned 75% by AML, and 25% by Shandong Iron and Steel Group ("SISG"), except for ARPS, which is owned 65% by AML, 25% by SISG and 10% by GoSL.
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