China Kingho Energy Group, one of China’s largest privately owned energy groups, said it has more than ten interested parties for its $6 billion-plus investment in infrastructure, energy and iron ore mining in Sierra Leone.
Commenting for the first time on reports that the group could spend $6-10 billion to mine an estimated 30 million tonnes a year of iron ore in the West African nation, China Kingho explained it would not go it alone on the project.
“We haven’t signed any official agreements yet but more than ten companies are interested, including miners, steelmakers, infrastructure companies and EPCs (engineering, procurement and construction companies),” James Chang, director of external affairs for the China Kingho chairman’s office, told Reuters at the West Africa Mining Investment Summit in London.
He added the companies were from China and abroad, and that the investment spend, which started with exploration works in 2011, would take the project beyond 2017, when mining is scheduled to start.
Kingho, which is carrying out infrastructure and mining feasibility studies in Sierra Leone, signed a memorandum of understanding with the country’s mines ministry last May.
Under the agreement, the company plans to construct a 250-km (155-mile) railway from the northern Tonkolili district to the coastal town of Sulima, and to build a deepwater port in Sulima, a smelting facility and an industrial park. It also intends to upgrade roads.
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