- African Minerals posts an operating loss of $140.5m for the six months to the end of June - up from £26.5m a year ago.

It said the loss principally consisted of transaction costs and other professional fees ($86.9m) including costs in relation to the Shandong Iron and Steel Group transaction, loss on de-recognition of borrowings ($21.1m), fuel misappropriation ($18.0m) which represents management's best estimate for fuel theft which was previously capitalised within assets under construction and employee costs ($8.0m).

The company says management has taken a number of measures to mitigate the risk of further such losses occurring.

Pre-tax losses for the period rose to $86.05m - up from $26.3m last time.

Chief executive Keith Calder said: "What this team has achieved over the last 20 months - attracting over $3bn of investment for Sierra Leone, building the new rail and mine, refurbishing the port, and progressively increasing the target production capacity from the originally scoped 5Mtpa to 20Mtpa while at the same time creating employment for over 11,000 people - has been a remarkable achievement.

"I am confident that phase I of the project will be able to sustainably deliver 20Mtpa at under $30 per tonne, and become the second largest iron ore exporter in Africa.

"Tonkolili is a world class asset. Phase I is about to start its production ramp up, and we intend to build on the momentum already gained as we embark on phase II development."

At 8:29am: [LON:AMI] American Investment Trust share price was -14p at 285.75p

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