* London Mining: some staff abroad to delay return to
* African Minerals also restricts some travel
* Iron ore miners say output not affected for now
By Umaru Fofana
FREETOWN, June 3 Iron ore producer London Mining
has evacuated some non-essential staff from Sierra
Leone and imposed travel restrictions due to an outbreak of the
deadly Ebola virus, the company said on Tuesday.
Sierra Leone last month recorded five deaths from Ebola, its
first confirmed fatalities from an outbreak of the haemorrhagic
fever that has is believed to have killed around 185 people in
neighbouring Guinea and Liberia since March.
London Mining said its output had not been affected and no
cases of Ebola had been found in communities around the mine.
But a spokesman for the company, which operates the Marampa
mine some 120 km (75 miles) east of Freetown, said eight
non-essential staff had left Sierra Leone at the weekend and
those abroad on holiday had been advised not to return for now.
"The company has also restricted non-essential travel and
all such travels are approved by the managing director of London
Mining," Osman Lahai said.
A spokesman for African Minerals, another British
iron ore miner in the West African state, said it had also
introduced travel restrictions on workers but operations were
Both firms said they had put in place systems to screen the
body temperatures of people working on their sites.
An Ebola outbreak began earlier this year in Guinea's remote
southeast, spreading later to Guinea's capital, Conakry, and
into neighbouring Liberia. Until last month, suspected cases of
Ebola in Sierra Leone had tested negative.
The confirmed cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone have all been
located close to the border with Guinea's Gueckedou prefecture,
near the epicentre of the regional outbreak.
Theo Nicol, Sierra Leone's deputy information minister, said
the government was doing everything it could to fight the
disease and all cases in the capital, Freetown, had tested
negative so far.
Underscoring the challenges tackling a highly contagious
disease with a fatality rate of up to 90 percent in countries
with some of the weakest health systems in the world, relatives
of an Ebola patient in Sierra Leone took her home saying they
did not trust the care she was given.
Sierra Leone began exporting iron ore in 2011, fuelling
economic growth and highlighting the flood of investment into
the country during the decade since its civil war ended.
However, Sierra Leone remains one of the world's poorest and
least developed countries, and there is widespread frustration
that despite the mining boom, more than half of the population
of 6 million lives on less than $1.25 per day.
(Additional reporting by Silvia Antonioli in London; Writing by
David Lewis; Editing by Mark Heinrich)