African Lion Agriculture Limited (ALA) is a palm oil operation in Sierra Leone established by London-listed Sierra
Rutile Limited. In June 2015, Carmanor entered into a joint venture agreement with Sierra Rutile that saw Carmanor become a 51% shareholder and assume board and management control of ALA. The shareholding rose to 65% at the beginning of 2016 and will increase further to 75% in 2017 subject to completing an agreed work programme.
The ALA plantation currently consists of 1,098 hectares of oil palm and 350 hectares of rubber. With the aim of growing ALA into a large-scale agricultural operation, Carmanor intends to pursue an aggressive planting programme at ALA with 1,000ha new plantings planned for each of 2016 and 2017 and 2,000ha of new plantings per annum thereafter.
In order to process the oil palm fresh fruit bunches into palm oil, Carmanor is establishing an industrial scale custom milling operation adjacent to the ALA plantations. Carmanor has acquired a 1 tonne per hour (tph) mill that will be in operation during Q3 2016 and is also negotiating the purchase of a 5-6tph mill for delivery in two years’ time. Further milling capacity will be added as fruit availability increases.
Fruit will initially mainly be sourced from outgrowers and smallholders in the vicinity of the ALA plantations. As the ALA plantations mature and yields increase, these will provide the bulk of the feedstock for the milling operation.
The palm oil will be sold into the local market via a combination of traders and direct sales to larger consumers. As volumes increase, Carmanor will move into exports with ECOWAS being the natural destination. Carmanor has an initial allocation of up to 45,000 tonnes per annum through Sierra Rutile’s dedicated Nitti port adjacent to the site, allowing it to bypass the bottleneck at Freetown port and thereby providing Carmanor with a strong strategic advantage over other palm oil producers in Sierra Leone.