Sarkozy Seeks Mining Deal In Liberia

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France’s ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to venture into Liberia and Guinea’s mining industry, the Liberian presidency said in a statement posted on its website Monday.

Sarkozy’s West Africa business interest was made known in the Senegalese Capital Dakar where he had talks with Liberia’s George Weah and his Guinean counterpart Alpha Conde.

No further details have been released. Conde and Weah however pushed for improved trade between the two countries with an arrangement for Guinean to export its iron ore using Liberia’s railway and the Port of Buchanan.

Discussion between the neighboring countries for the usage of the railway heightened in 2014 but its inadequate capacity in relation to expansion and building of an unloading facility at the port of Buchanan slowed negotiations regarding clear terms.

Liberia has rich mineral deposits and historically, mineral extraction – iron ore, gold and diamonds has been one of the country’s leading export sectors.

Guinea too, is a holder of vast mineral reserves including the Zogota and Simandou mines thought by miners to be the world’s biggest undeveloped iron-ore deposit.

Early this year, Sarkozy brokered a settlement between Israeli mining tycoon Beny Steinmetz and Guinea ending a seven-year-old dispute centered around one of the world’s richest mineral deposits that included a colorful list of characters from billionaire George Soros to former U.K. leader Tony Blair and mining heavyweights Rio Tinto Group and Vale SA.

– Festus Poquie