February 2, 2015 / 11:32 AM / 3 years ago

African Minerals says Chinese partner releases funds for January payments

Feb 2 (Reuters) - African Minerals Ltd said its Chinese partner for its Tonkolili iron ore mine in Sierra Leone agreed to release $6.7 million to pay January salaries and taxes, the second straight month that the miner has had to rely on funds for such payments.

African Minerals, which has been battered by higher costs related to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and a rout in iron ore prices last year, said Shandong Iron and Steel Group Co released the cash on Monday.

The restricted account in Hong Kong, originally created to fund the expansion of Tonkolili, was also used to fund the near $13 million African Minerals needed to pay December salaries and taxes. The account still holds $82.4 million.

African Minerals said on Monday it was still exploring alternate sources of funding, including selling a stake in Tonkolili.

African Minerals shares had lost 95 percent of their value last year until they were suspended in late November due, in part, to a failure to pay dues on a $250 million loan. (Reporting By Mamidipudi Soumithri in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)

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