Shandong takes control of African Minerals debt, demands repayment

Sierra Leone iron ore miner African Minerals’ largest shareholder, Shandong Iron & Steel Group (SISG), has taken control of a significant proportion of the company’s debt in the latest hit for the struggling miner.

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SISG subsidiary Shandong Steel Hong Kong Zengli took control of a $250 million pre-payment facility from African Minerals bank lenders including Citi and Standard Chartered on Thursday February 26, African Minerals said on Friday.

SISG holds 25% of African Minerals.

The new lender has demanded immediate repayment of the outstanding $166.7 million of the debt, which has been in default since November.

African Minerals, which is chaired by its founder, Romanian-Australian resources entrepreneur Frank Timis, did not have sufficient funds to make the payment demanded, it said.

In a separate move, the SISG subsidiary took out an injunction at the High Court of Sierra Leone on February 23 to halt African Minerals, its subsidiaries or Frank Timis from taking any steps to liquidate the company or its assets.

A hearing on the case was due today, March 2.