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Exclusive: Letter Reveals Alarming Consequences for Liberia’s Stake in Mineral Infrastructure Assets

In a groundbreaking development, a recently obtained letter has shed light on the far-reaching implications for Liberia’s stake in its mineral infrastructure assets amidst ArcelorMittal’s push for full control. The exclusive access to this letter confirms the gravity of the situation and underscores the urgent need for the Liberian government to prioritize national interests and safeguard the country’s economic future.

Addressed to Hon. Molewuleh B. Gray, Chairman of the National Investment Commission and the Inter-Ministerial Concession Committee, the letter, penned by Bronwyn Barnes, CEO of High Power Exploration (HPX) and Director of Société des Mines de Fer de Guinée (SMFG) and Ivanhoe Liberia Limited, provides a comprehensive analysis of the revised draft of the third amendment to the mineral development agreement between ArcelorMittal and the Government of Liberia (the “Third Amendment”), alongside the accompanying railroad system operating principles (the “RSOP”).

Of utmost concern, the letter reveals that the Revised Drafts fail to comply with Executive Order 112 issued by the President of Liberia. The provisions in their current form grant ArcelorMittal a privileged position, thereby negating the principles of fair and equitable access for all eligible users outlined by the Liberian Government. This biased approach undermines Liberia’s stake in its own mineral infrastructure assets and compromises the country’s economic potential.

The letter highlights that the Revised Drafts do not support the Infrastructure Corridor as a genuine multi-user, open access, and non-discriminatory infrastructure network. If these drafts are signed and ratified unchanged, ArcelorMittal will hold exclusive rights to construct capacity on the Infrastructure Corridor until at least March 31, 2026, effectively monopolizing its utilization and blocking opportunities for other potential users, including HPX.

Furthermore, the letter emphasizes that the Revised Drafts directly contradict Executive Order 112, which affirms the Liberian Government’s commitment to core principles of open and non-discriminatory access for ArcelorMittal, HPX, SMFG, and other eligible users. By prioritizing ArcelorMittal’s interests over the national interest, the Revised Drafts disregard the framework established by the government and existing Liberian law.

The consequences for Liberia’s stake in its mineral infrastructure assets are grave. The exclusive control granted to ArcelorMittal jeopardizes future investments, exploration opportunities, and potential revenue generation. The lack of accountability mechanisms exposes the country to potential breaches of obligations by ArcelorMittal, with no means to hold the company accountable or ensure the proper operation and maintenance of the assets.

With this vital information now confirmed through the acquired letter, the stakes for Liberia have never been higher. The government must prioritize the long-term economic interests of the nation and its citizens, ensuring fair access to the infrastructure corridor and protecting the country’s sovereignty over its valuable mineral resources.

As this exclusive information emerges, the nation anxiously awaits the government’s response. It is a critical moment for Liberia to stand firm, protect its stake in the mineral infrastructure assets, and make decisions that truly serve the best interests of the country and its people.

Updates on this pressing issue will be provided as further developments unfold.

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Last modified: July 27, 2023