The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will invest $60-million in mineral sands miner Iluka Resources’ Sierra Rutile operation, in Sierra Leone, the Perth-headquartered miner announced on Thursday.
The IFC would initially invest $20-million for a 3.57% stake, with a further $50-million planned to increase its shareholding to 10%, when the construction of early works for the Sembehun project was approved and when the environmental and social impact assessment of Area 5 was completed.
The Sembehun deposit comprised more than 70% of Sierra Rutile’s remaining ore reserves and development of Sembehun had the potential to extend the life of the operations significantly, Iluka said in a media release.
The Sembehun deposits are situated about 20 to 30 km north-west of the existing Sierra Rutile operations. Iluka plans to initially develop a new 1 000 t/h to 1 200 t/h mine at these deposits.
The company is working on a definitive feasibility study on a Stage 1 development, which it expects to conclude early in the second half of 2019.
Sierra Rutile produces rutile, ilmenite and zircon from the world’s largest natural rutile deposit.