Mining: African Minerals begins shutdown of Sierra Leone assets as Ebola effect hits

By Silvia Antonioli in London
Posted on Monday, 1 December 2014 10:42

The miner is in a critical situation, battered by a 50 percent plunge in the iron ore price this year and the effects of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

AML has commenced a temporary controlled shutdown of its operations in Sierra Leone

It is struggling to shore up its battered finances, and its London-listed shares have been suspended since 20 November due to uncertainty about its future.

It also said that its subsidiaries have failed to make in full a loan repayment due at the end of November.

“In the absence of sufficient working capital AML has commenced a temporary controlled shutdown of its operations in Sierra Leone,” the company said in a statement.

“Without a significant injection of working capital, African Minerals is unable to initiate the cost reduction strategies which would return the operations to cash flow positive status even at recent low iron ore prices.”

In September the company outlined a recovery plan that it had hoped would boost revenue and help repay its hefty debt.

The miner is now seeking to sell part of its stake in the Tonkolili mine in Sierra Leone to raise funds.

Although it was in talks with “several groups” that have expressed an interest in buying a stake, there is no certainly that a deal will be forthcoming.

Understand Africa's tomorrow... today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.

View subscription options