MONROVIA- The Liberian government is contemplating on working behind the scene to ensure that Arcelor Mittal’s Deal is ratified after they have seen that Solway and HPX, two mining companies’ total investment cannot match Mittal’s long term investment.
Recently, the third amended Mineral Development Agreement for AML was rejected based on what the house said, missing words in it-one of which called for third party use of the Rail Road and the port of Buchanan.
More besides that, sources at The National Investment Commission and Mines Ministry said that some lawmakers were only interested in Solway and HPX deal. “Some of us know that Solway which has laid off some employees and really been facing cash problems is what some of our people are looking up to. But that is wrong because that two companies-Solway and HPX total investment here cannot even make up half of what Mittal is doing here.”
Another source at the Ministry of Finance said: “We are in a hard place right now. But we cannot afford as a country to let this investment of AML go. There are others too that want us to look up to Solway and HPX, but the type of investment which AML has, none of them can come up with that. HPX does not have a base here. They are in Guinea and only want to use our rail, which is not bad. But we need to give priority to Mittal,” a top official who refused to be named at Finance said.
“This deal and that of Solway and HPX have international implications and we are very careful as a government to speak on it. We will be holding consultations among the Executive and legislature soon to discuss this,” a Finance Ministry official said.
The official added: “from the look of things, we, as a government will not allow this investment to jump from our hands. We will do everything possible to ensure that everyone is satisfied, especially Mittal.”
But other sources said, that Solway is only fronting for a non-Liberian and they do not have the financial capacity to even operate on their own for six months.
“Here is a company-Solway which has not even started work and has started laying off some of their employees due to financial challenges. You cannot rely on this company in any way. Even to do payment to some of their lobbying agents in the country, they have been making promises to them,” one said. Solway denied that earlier this year that they were facing financial problems.
At the ministry of Mines, an official familiar with the agreement said; “Solway is not a company that you match with Arcelor Mittal. I think our lawmakers are making a big mistake here. Even the HPX which is in Guinea cannot give such cash to this government as in the case of Arcelor Mittal. I think someone somewhere is only seeking his personal interest over that of Liberia.
Following this, the company -AML said, it was concerned about the agreement.
“ArcelorMittal Liberia (‘AML’ or ‘the Company’) has learned through unconfirmed media reports that the House of Representatives has made appointments to the conference committee and some other decisions over the past few days regarding the company’s Third Amendment to the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA), which is awaiting ratification by the Legislature,” it said in the statement.
It added: “The Company believes that this Amendment to the MDA is in the best interest of Liberia and its people, assigned on September 10, 2021 after more than 12 months of negotiations with the Government of Liberia.
AML remains committed to Liberia with its long-term investments that will deliver a project which will bring unrivalled and extensive economic and social benefits to the country for decades to come.
For now, AML is awaiting all facts related to the actions by the Legislature before it will make any further statement on this matter.”