By Stephen V. Lansana
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sierra Rutile Limited, Rob Hattingh, has said that they are looking for an opportunity for expansion in the company’s present area of operation.
He said Sierra Rutile does not have enough space for mining operations. He added that they currently have cash constraint which is as a result of a single-man operation.
The CEO told a news conference held on Friday, January 20 in Freetown that they have formed a merger with Iluka, a company which is involved in mineral sands exploration, project development, operations, marketing and rehabilitation.
“This merger reflects the company’s strong market position and provides growth opportunities for the operation and its employees,” CEO said. He also stated that the two companies will help boost the mining industry. He said they would like to change the mining structure so that they have more results that will benefit the country.
He said the company has also planned to develop detailed feasibility studies for a number of mine development and expansion options that would see a significant increase in rutile output. “Expansion decisions will be dependent on the outcome of feasibility studies and market conditions with consideration to other options within the Iluka portfolio,” he said.
He added that they have three main expansion opportunities, which include Lanti dry mining, Gangama dry mining, and Sembehun dry mining.
The CEO said as Sierra Rutile enters the next phase of evolution, its employees remain the company’s most important asset. “With the principles of safety, team work, and respect, employing local people and fostering community relationships, Sierra Rutile and Iluka will work together to improve the future,” he said.
He also said they will work with the community, especially on environmental issues, and that this will help strengthen safety operations in the company. The CEO who has extensive mineral sands experience across arrange of projects, including operations in Africa, said one of the things that they have to benefit is that they have a very large deposits of rutile with high quality.
CEO said Iluka and Sierra Rutile management will work closely together to continue to strengthen the company’s position as a leading global rutile producer. He said one of the key areas of focus will be on ensuring the continuity of operations and building positive, mutually beneficial relationships with the government of Sierra Leone and its main agencies, regional and community representatives and other key bodies within the country.
The CEO said that the company will continue to work with the community members and the people of Sierra Leone as a whole, adding that last week they held a meeting with stakeholders in their operational areas. “We are planning to also meet with all the five paramount chiefs in our operational areas.” He said they will make sure that they fulfil their corporate social responsibility.