[Sierra Leone] IFC invests $60 million in Sierra Rutile to support expansion, community development
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced a $60 million investment in Iluka Resources’ Sierra Rutile Limited to partner with the resources company as it expands its operations in Sierra Leone, where it is the largest tax payer, private employer, and foreign exchange earner, and a linchpin of the country’s mining sector.
IFC’s equity investment will support Sierra Rutile Limited’s major expansion, which seeks to approximately double its rutile production in Sierra Leone from the current 150,000 tons per year and extend the life of its mine to at least 2035, providing local jobs and economic benefits for decades to come. Rutile is a mineral primarily used as a feedstock to produce whitening pigment for paints, plastics, and paper.
IFC will also work with Sierra Rutile Limited to increase its positive impact on local communities. A three-year advisory services agreement between IFC and Sierra Rutile will help the mining company implement a new community investment and engagement strategy, improve the transparency and use of community-managed mining revenues, and develop a women and youth social and economic empowerment program.
Iluka’s Managing Director, Tom O’Leary, said, “Partnering with IFC will provide benefits to Iluka, IFC, and the people of Sierra Leone by promoting the continued, sustainable development of the Sierra Rutile operation. IFC has unparalleled expertise and experience in community and stakeholder engagement in developing countries, which will complement Sierra Rutile’s own activities in these areas.”
Lance Crist, IFC’s Global Head of Equity, who attended the event, said “IFC’s investment in Sierra Rutile Limited highlights our long-term commitment to the private sector in countries recovering from conflict and has the potential to generate thousands of local jobs and millions in government revenues.
IFC will make an initial investment of $20 million to fund Sierra Rutile Limited’s existing operations and then a further $40 million to support its ambitious expansion plans, which must comply with IFC’s Performance Standards. IFC’s total $60 million investment will represent a 10 percent stake in the company.
The partnership with Iluka and Sierra Rutile Limited also demonstrates IFC’s continued commitment to fragile states and those recovering from conflict. From 2008-2018 IFC invested $8 billion in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS) globally, of which $3 billion was invested in African FCS.
IFC is a strong development partner helping Sierra Leone strengthen and grow its economy, providing both investments and advisory services. IFC also supports Sierra Leone through its Conflict Affected States in Africa Initiative (CASA), which is backed by Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway.
Iluka, which owned 100 percent of Sierra Rutile Limited prior to IFC’s investment, is an Australian-based international mineral sands company with over 60 years of experience in the sector. The Sierra Rutile mine currently employs more than 2,500 people.