Liberia’s President Dr. George Manneh Weah, has described the recently amended Mineral Development Agreement between his government and global steel giant ArcelorMittal, as a major investment milestone which he says promises prosperity and transformation in Liberia, according to an Executive Mansion statement.
The statement released over the weekend quotes President Weah as saying the implementation of the agreement would move the country into a future of jobs and prosperity.
The Liberian Chief Executive made the remarks when he witnessed the signing ceremony of an amended Mineral Development Agreement between the Government of Liberia and ArcelorMittal Liberia on Friday, September 10, 2021 in Monrovia.
President Weah commended Mr. Lakshmi Mittal, Executive Chairman of ArcelorMittal, for his intentions to continue to invest in the future of Liberia.
“The Government considers you an important ally in its drive to accelerate the growth of our economy under our national development plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD),” Dr. Weah asserted.
“We look forward to a stronger partnership and closer cooperation in the years ahead,” The Liberian leader said further.
With the signing of the Third Amendment to its Mineral Development Agreement, ArcelorMittal will invest an additional US$800 million into its Phase II iron ore project, which will enable the company to move from producing five (5) million metric tons of iron ore per year to fifteen (15) million metric tons per year within the next three years.
“I am further informed that the Agreement contains several benefits that are important to the Liberian people,” the President noted, adding, “For example, to name a few, the Government is to receive $55 million to reserve 15 million metric ton capacity for ArcelorMittal; and $10 million signing bonus, for a total of $65 million.”
The project will also create at least 1,000 direct jobs, 2,000 temporary construction-related jobs, and about 4,000 indirect jobs. There will be an increase in the amount of money going to communities of impact in Nimba, Grand Bassa, and Bong Counties while at the same time opening up a multi-user rail system for the transport of goods and iron ore on the rail system.
For his part, ArcelorMittal Executive Chairman Lakshmi Mittal thanked President Weah and his Government for their development drive and good relations with concessionaires in the country, something which led to the signing of the agreement.
“This agreement with the Government of Liberia will see us stay in the country for at least another 25 years, committing to one of the largest and most important mining projects in West Africa,” Mr. Mittal noted.
Mr. Mittal further said: “The period of negotiation has also enabled us to know each other better, deepening our relationship and I believe building further trust. This is an excellent foundation as we start this new phase that will see us invest an additional US$800 million in the country – taking our total investment to US$2.5 billion.”
He termed the agreement plans of ArcelorMittal as a very ambitious plan which he noted the company is very excited about.
“But, ultimately, we hope that it is the people of Liberia that will benefit most from this agreement”, Mr. Mittal said, adding, “I am confident that, with this new agreement, there are good times ahead. It is a very large project and to succeed we will need the support and cooperation of all stakeholders.”
“The journey we have experienced in Liberia over the past 16 years makes me confident we will be able to achieve that if we work openly and honestly together with a relationship based on transparency and trust,” he continued, stressing, “I hope that the fact we have reached this agreement will also send a positive signal to the world that Liberia is a stable place for international investment.”