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Government signs agreement with ARISE IIP for development of Pepel Port and the Pepel-Tonkolili Railway.

The government of Sierra Leone signed a lease agreement with ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms (IIP) Ltd on 17 January 2023 to develop, manage and expand Pepel Port and the Pepel-Tonkolili Railway. 

Pepel Port is located on the Sierra Leone River, 15 nautical miles upstream from Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone. Only the port of Pepel and the port of Freetown have docking facilities in Sierra Leone.

The scope of the lease agreement includes the refurbishment of the Pepel Port and the Pepel Tonkolili, as well as Railway connectivity to Marampa mines, and introduction of passenger rail services and rail connection to Guinea. It is estimated that an investment of US$476 million will be required, including preparation of the business plan, financial model and pre-feasibility studies.

Railway network of Sierra Leone - Tonkolili extension not shown (Jkan997 | Wikimedia Commons)
Railway network of Sierra Leone - Tonkolili extension not shown (Jkan997 | Wikimedia Commons)

Under the terms of the lease agreement signed between the government of Sierra Leone and ARISE IIP, the government has a 10% free carry (i.e. a 10% dividend), and other bulk mineral producers in the northern corridor will be also provided access to rail and port facilities. 

The project will also improve mobility and trade access through a passenger rail service.

Other benefits of the project include job creation and passenger movement from Tonkolili through Bombali to the Port Loko district, an increase in mineral export by an additional 20 million metric tons, payment of surface rent income to landowners, annual royalties, as well as pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) and other taxes generating additional revenue for the government.

Commenting on the agreement, Sierra Leone's Minister of Finance, Sheku Ahmed Fantamadi Bangura, stated that ARISE IIP is a sector specialist firm with a proven record across Africa in managing infrastructure. He added that the agreement was signed after several consultations, due diligence and approval from the cabinet with concurrence from the Ministry of Finance. He also stated that after the signing, the agreement will be taken to parliament for ratification.

Also commenting, the Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Timothy Kabba, said that the agreement was part of more reforms coming to the mining sector, which will someday become an open field with more companies taking part. “This agreement is taking a government asset from monopoly to be more accessible,” he said. 

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Managing Director of ARISE IIP,  Jesper Harring Boll, said the company has a good track record in African countries, such as Benin, Togo, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Chad, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda, as a developer and operator. He said ARISE IIP identifies gaps to create efficiency and generate growth.

“ARISE IIP identifies gaps in African countries that unlock value and create new industries to create local transformation and maximize production, efficiency and cost to generate growth and local value addition,” Boll added.

Top Photo: Fuel and Unloading Facility at Pepel Port, Sierra Leone (

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