Due to falling iron ore price on the international market, Liberia has lost approximately US$500,000 in revenue generated from iron-ore mining in the country, a senior official of the country’s energy sector disclosed at a government’s news conference a fortnight ago.
“We’re aware that the international financial crisis has greatly affected our revenue intake, especially in the iron-ore production sector. Due to this crisis, we have lost more than US$500,000 in revenue from the ore sector” Mr. Steven Dorbor, Deputy Lands and Mines Minister for Planning and Human Resource, revealed at the MICAT press briefing recently.
Minister Dorbor also acknowledged that there is no fix time as to how and when the uncertainty surrounding the international financial crisis might end.
He also indicated that the huge fall in such revenue intake from the ore sector might even continue for a longer period given that the crisis still lingers.
He named no immediate steps to address the situation as the financial crisis, noting the problem is global.
The junior energy minister also revealed the country’s diamond and gold industries have been experiencing unspecified lose of millions of dollars yearly due to an entrenched illicit mining of the export commodities.
“Clearly, we’re aware that the Government is losing lots of revenues to illegal mining activities across this country, and that’s why we’re working alongside communities to ensure that we end this practice once and for all” Minister Dorbor said at the occasion marking the official launch of the LME’s new website.
The price of iron ore on the world market has drastically fallen from previously US$74 per ton to US$40.5 per ton, the current price at which it is being sold. The international financial crisis, which has devastated many economies across the globe, has also left its own aftereffects for striving economies in the Manor River Basin, with Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone suffering the heaviest notches so far.
Minister Dorbor’s revelation, no doubt, also confirms the growing economic challenges the government is currently facing, especially in its energy regime. These, combined with the aftershocks of the deadly Ebola outbreak, which killed over 4,000 of the country’s citizens, including some of its best medical doctors, and professional nurses, is said to have brought the nation’s economy down to its crawling knees.
China Union Mining , a US$2.6billion company operating in the country since 2010 recently announced several measures in relation to the adverse effect of the global commodities crisis s on its iron-ore mining operation in Liberia.
At the moment, the company is practically not producing iron-ore and has terminated employment contracts with several of its employees, including Chinese and black workers.
China Union Management did not say how much money it has lost or it is losing as a result of these aftereffects from the fall of the iron-ore price on the world market.
Besides Arcelor Mittal, another giant steel manufacturing company currently operation in Liberia’s Nimba Mountain has significantly reduced its staff and slow operation.
Varney M. Kamara