IFC supports expansion of Ebola-hit New Liberty gold mine in Liberia

19 February 2015 (Last Updated February 19th, 2015 18:30)

A unit of World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC) has agreed to provide £5.3m to Aureus Mining to fund a revised mine plan at New Liberty in Liberia, due to the Ebola crisis.

A unit of World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC) has agreed to provide £5.3m to Aureus Mining to fund a revised mine plan at New Liberty in Liberia, due to the Ebola crisis.

Aureus Mining has raised $15.3m to change the original mine development plan in an attempt to boost production.

Under the new plan, Aureus Mining will build an additional feeder pit to increase production by 28,000oz to reach 122,000oz in the first year.

According to company's estimate, the outbreak of Ebola in Liberia has resulted in $18m of additional and indirect costs for the project.

Aureus Mining president and CEO David Reading said: "We are delighted to have this additional support from IFC, which will allow us to continue the development of the New Liberty project despite the challenges posed by the Ebola outbreak.

"Aureus has demonstrated its ability to handle adversity by continuing to build its project throughout the Ebola crisis."

"It is an endorsement of the tireless work of our construction and operations teams and we look forward to continuing to work to deliver benefits to Liberia and our shareholders."

As per the agreement, IFC will buy 29,239,766 common shares through private placement, at £0.18 per share.

IFC already holds a 12.8% share in the company, so this latest investment will increase its stake to 17.42%.

IFC global head of mining Tom Butler said: "IFC anchored this additional investment in Aureus because we feel the company's updated mine plan makes sound financial sense.

"Aureus has demonstrated its ability to handle adversity by continuing to build its project throughout the Ebola crisis, and continuing with its innovative community engagement programmes.

"We look forward to successful mine completion later this year."

The company started mine operations with completion of the first blast of 25,000t of waste rock in January, and first gold is expected to be mined by the end of May.

Aureus is planning to further optimise the plant at the mine site with final commissioning is expected in June, which will ensure steady production in July.