Meya gets large-scale mining license

…Trustco owned mine to focus on commercial production

By Hilary Mare

TRUSTCO’S  Meya mine has been granted a large scale mining licence by the National Minerals Agency (NMA) of the Government of Sierra Leone.

The company had submitted an application for a large scale mining licence application to the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources in Sierra Leone in April this year.

Informing shareholders about the development, Amanda Bruyns, Company Secretary of the Trustco Group Holdings Limited this week said that Meya Mining will now focus on transitioning from exploration to commercial production.

“Meya Mining received a letter dated 19 July 2019 from the National Minerals Agency (NMA) of the Government of Sierra Leone confirming that the large scale mining licence has been approved on the recommendation of the Minerals Advisory Board.

“The initial depletion target is 360 000 tonne per annum or 200 000 carats per annum. Concurrent with commercial production, Meya Mining will continue its resource development programmes with the aim to define the resource in full. To achieve this will require at least 16 more exploration phases,” Bruyns said.

Profit for the mining segment at year-end is expected to range between N$468 million and N$485 million, the company had announced in April.

Trustco Resources acquired a 51 percent interest in Meya mining in November 2017.

Meya holds a four year exclusive diamond exploration licence EL: 07/2015 (the licence) over an area comprising of 130.38 km², a kimberlite concession spanning from the Kamara, Gbense to the Tankoro chiefdoms in Kono District, Sierra Leone.

The remaining 49 percent interest in Meya is held by Germinate Sierra Leone (Germinate), the original licence holder.

Germinate is a 100 percent Sierra Leonean owned company. The relations between Namibia and Sierra Leone date back to the days of the liberation struggle.

Earlier this year Confidente reported that Meya Mining has to date amassed total revenue of USD 24,490,420 (approximately N$351 million) from the sale of 27,776.10 carats.

“Meya plans to conclude the Meya River sample by extracting the remaining 1 500 tonnes of kimberlite during March. The focus will then move to both the Simbakoro and the Waterloo bulk samples. Simbakoro is located some 800 m north of Dyke Zone B running on a parallel orientation whilst Waterloo is located some 5.5 km west of Dyke Zone B. Stripping of overburden at both these areas is at an advanced stage.

“Some kimberlite material excavated as part of sample preparation at Simbakoro was treated and results are encouraging, both in terms of grade achieved and quality of the diamonds produced,” added Bruyns said at the time.

Sierra Leone was one of the West African countries that assisted SWAPO (South West Africa People’s Organisation), the ruling party in Namibia, not just financially and diplomatically, but also with the development of the country’s human capital.

During the 1970’s and 1980’s many young Namibians who went into exile, were offered a “home away from home” living with “foster” parents and attending school in Sierra Leone.