London Mining started up its Marampa iron ore project in Sierra Leone in mid-December 2011, validating plant design by producing a concentrate grading 65% iron and 3.5% silica. First exports from Sierra Leone were scheduled for shipment before the end of December.

Marampa production will ramp up to more than 160,000 mt of concentrate per month during the first half of 2012, and full-year production is expected to total 1.8 million mt. London Mining’s “Pride of Marampa” transshipment vessel will be commissioned during the first quarter of 2012, enabling the loading of Capesize vessels.

London Mining has undertaken a review of capital and operating costs as it looks to optimize full Phase 1 capacity at Marampa to 4 million mt/y of concentrate and then to increase to 11.5 million mt/y as part of a Phase 2a expansion. Long-range planning calls for eventual expansion to 16 million mt/y.

Phase 1 cash costs are estimated at $35/mt of concentrate FOB at the 4-million mt/y run rate. The company is confident it can achieve operating costs of about $30/mt of concentrate FOB over the life of the mine once project optimizations and expansions are realized.

A new JORC-compliant Marampa resource statement for the year ending December 31, 2011, and updated Phase 1 and Phase 2 development schedules were planned for release in January 2012. Bateman Engineering has been appointed to complete a bankable feasibility study for the Phase 2a expansion, with completion of the study expected by mid-year 2012.