African Minerals sued by Sierra Leone villagers

African Minerals Limited (OTCMKTS:AMLZF) is being sued in a London court over allegations that it evicted residents and violently mistreated workers and villagers living close to one of its mines in Sierra Leone.

The iron ore company, whose Tonkolili project was its flagship before being put on care and maintenance in 2014, “is accused of complicity in false imprisonment, assault and battery, trespass and theft of the claimants’ property. It is also allegedly implicated in a fatal shooting of a 24-year-old by police during a protest over pay and conditions,” according to a weekend report in The Guardian.

The multi-million-pound lawsuit will involve 142 claimants who are aiming to receive compensation for injuries sustained during two incidents in 2010 and 2012. African Minerals denies the allegations and says it has “no vicarious responsibility” for actions taken by police and that English courts lack jurisdiction in Sierra Leone, states the media report.

It’s just the latest piece of bad news for African Minerals, which used to list on the London Stock Exchange but now trades over the counter as a penny stock. The company was heavily impacted by the Ebola crisis in 2014. In December of that year, the combination of a lack of investment and slumping iron ore prices forced the miner to halt its operations.

In April of this year Shandong Iron and Steel Group acquired the remaining 75 percent of Tonkolili for around $170 million. The Chinese steel company said in April that it planned to return the mine, which is the second largest iron ore mine in Africa, to full production during the wet season.