ArcelorMittal Liberia has clarified disinformation and propaganda campaign against it, about access to the Tokadeh−Buchanan railway corridor, relative to its amended Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) being ratified by the Legislature.
The March 21, 2022 editions of two local newspapers, carried an identical story attributed to Guy de Sellers, Chair of Ivanhoe Liberia and HPX Group companies, accusing ArcelorMittal Liberia of wrongdoing and deliberately distorting the facts around potential users of the railway.
The amended MDA before the Liberian Legislature unambiguously lays out provisions on rail use and access and clearly does not give any exclusive rights or monopoly of the railway to ArcelorMittal contrary to the distortions published in the New Dawn’s and Daily Observer’s publications.
The amended Agreement was intensely debated and negotiated over a 12-month period between the Liberian Government and ArcelorMittal, with elaborate provisions on multi-user access to the rail and port infrastructures, and long-term continuity of our expanded operations in Liberia.
The fact remains that ArcelorMittal has already invested over US$500 million on rail and port – and will invest a further US$200 million – in rehabilitating these assets, which continue to be solely owned by the Government of Liberia.
The Third Amendment to the MDA establishes a very comprehensive non-discriminatory multi-user access regime for the rail and port, with the Government of Liberia as the approving authority and no monetary benefit to ArcelorMittal from other users. In short, the Government of Liberia remains the final authority that determines who else can use this infrastructure. Included in this Third Amendment is a 62 page document clearly identifying the principles for multiple parties to use this rail infrastructure, beginning as early as 2025.
The Government of Liberia has repeatedly clarified this position, most prominently through the Minister of State and Presidential Affairs, Hon. Nathaniel F. McGill, and the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Honorable Samuel D. Tweh, who have assured the public that the Government maintains full control of the railway and other state assets.
ArcelorMittal Liberia’s US$800 million expansion project is of critical importance to investment inflow in Liberia and will contribute significantly to efforts of the Government of Liberia to lift its people out of poverty as promised in the PAPD.
The project is largest foreign direct investment in Liberia under President George M. Weah’s administration and puts Liberia on the map as a country of enhanced mining stature, a jurisdiction that values foreign partnership, and a country that is open for doing business and facilitating foreign direct investment.
As the leading private sector investor in Liberia and a reliable partner in Liberia’s post-conflict development, ArcelorMittal Liberia welcomes and encourages a competitive business environment and interposes no objection to efforts that promote and yield positive results to existing and new investments in the country.