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Rutile clears debt to Gov’t

28,Nov 2016
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By Marius Musa Kargbo

Sierra Rutile has announced the repayment of a 22 million euro loan it owed the government of Sierra Leone at an interest rate of 8 per cent, two years ahead of schedule.

The repayment of the loan marks the latest step in the consolidation of the company’s debt ahead of its proposed sale. 

Chief Executive Officer, John Bonoh Sisay, said that a cheque had already been presented to the government, adding that the loan was the foundation for rebuilding the company as a functioning business and mineral sands producer.

Mr Sisay, who has a close relationship with the President Ernest Bai Koroma, still periodically serves as an advisor to the government of Sierra Leone on mining-related issues.

The government, through a development aid provided by the European Union, had made it possible for the rehabilitation, development and expansion of Sierra Rutile in 2015. That loan was used to help the company gradually move into the rutile dry mining area at the Lanti and Gangama sites, south of the country.

The CEO said as a result of the Ebola Virus Disease, the biggest deadly haemorrhagic fever that killed over 11,000 people in the Mano River Union countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the commodity price plummeted. Because of that they were granted an 18-month deferral period by the government to pay the loan.

He added that since the restart of Sierra Rutile the loan had been a key part of Sierra Leones post war regeneration and noted that the country would not develop unless there was a real, resilient private sector.

Head of the EU delegation in the country, Ambassador Peter Versteeg, said they were pleased to be able to accompany both the government and Sierra Rutile in the announcement of the full outstanding capital and interest payments expected to be repaid by 15 December 2016.

Sierra Rutile is the first Sierra Leonean business listed on the London’s Alternative Investment Market, AIM exchange and since 2011 the company nearly doubled sales, production and employed over 12,000 Sierra Leoneans.

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