President George Weah have had talks with top officials of steel giant ArcelorMittal for possible review and amendment of the company’s mining development agreement reached with the Liberian government in 2005.
ArcelorMittal Executive Vice President Simon Wandke and delegation were part of the meeting that was held at the New York Palace Hotel according to Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe.
“Discussion centered around the ongoing Ganta-Yekepa road pavement, expansion of ArcelorMittal projects into phase two to add value to the iron ore through beneficiation,” Nagbe said in a Facebook post on September 26.
Vocational training for youth in the concession area will also form part of the new deal, the information minister added.
Since 2005, Mittal agreement has been revised over time and the company agreement with Liberian authorities obligates it to provide US$ 75 million over the 25 year span of the agreement to support socio-economic development in the country.
Ownership and control rights over existing infrastructure, tax and customs regime are chief amongst issues that dominates the review process.
In August S&p Global reported ArcelorMittal’s iron ore shipments based on market prices grew in the second quarter to 10 million mt, the steel and mining group said Wednesday in an earnings statement.
Market-priced iron ore shipments increased by 9.3% from Q1 and were up 5.4% compared to Q2 2017, due to higher shipments in Liberia and Ukraine, offset in part by lower mainland Canadian and Brazilian shipments.
ArcelorMittal said market-priced iron ore shipments are expected to grow 10% in 2018 compared to 2017. Overall, the company’s iron ore production in Q2 decreased by 1.5% year on year to 14.5 million mt due to lower production from its Canadian subsidiary AMMC and in Ukraine.
This was offset in part by increased production in Liberia, which is on track to produce 5 million mt in 2018, the company said. ArcelorMittal has moved ore extraction to the Gangra deposit with direct shipping ore at lower impurity than exploited at Tokadeh prior.
The Gangra mine, haul road and related existing plant and equipment upgrades have been completed, it said.
“Now that mining at the Gangra deposit has commenced, ArcelorMittal Liberia has launched a feasibility study to identify the optimal concentration solution in a phased approach for utilizing the significant lower grade resources at Tokadeh,” it said.
ArcelorMittal expects the results of the feasibility study at the end of 2018 and said it plans for the subsequent shift in Liberia to a high grade, long-term sinter feed concentration phase, from existing DSO sales.