“Eminent Economic Danger” -EU Ambassador Warns If ArcelorMittal Agreement Canceled

The European Union Ambassador to Liberia has warned of an eminent economic danger if the Liberian Government fails to reach an agreement on ArcelorMittal’s US$ 1 billion investment plan.

European Union Ambassador Laurent Delahousse said if ArcelorMittal did not realize its dream of sealing the negotiated investment in Liberia it would be “detrimental for the people of Liberia”.

He spoke Monday with OK FM’s Clarence Jackson noting that he believes despite “local politics” and “competition from other mining companies”, a common ground must be found to enable the AML to bring the needed investment promises of more than 2000 new jobs.

According to the EU ambassador, Liberia can benefit from its natural resources if efforts are made to add value to the products on the ground already.

Ambassador Delahousse is the second ranking EU official to endorse the ArcelorMittal deal after the European Union High Representative and Vice-President Josep Borrell on February 1, 2002 responded to a question that was raised by Romanian Member of the European Parliament Ramona Strugariu, which raised concerns about ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Mineral Development      Agreement (MDA) with the Government of Liberia.

The European Union had earlier said the new AML investment will benefit Liberia and its citizens as it works with Liberians in promoting good governance and the rule of law and supporting sustainable and inclusive development in its policy dialogues and cooperation with partner countries including Liberia.

It can be recalled that the global steel giant ArcelorMittal recently called on the government of Liberia to cancel all agreements with third parties in its concession area, and take no further steps that violate its mining rights in Liberia.

In a letter addressed to the ministers of Finance, Justice and Mines and Energy, the company listed several bad decisions by the government including its recent agreements with third parties, encroaching on its operations in Liberia.

Details of the letter suggest that Mittal’s communication to the government comes days after the Managing Director of the National Port Authority, Bill Twehway, asked Mittal to grant access to Notre Dame Investments for entry to AML’s port area.

The company also stressed in strong terms that the conclusion of a framework agreement with HPX constitutes a serious encroachment on its rights under the existing Mineral Development Agreement.

Mittal has asked the Weah administration to cancel the HPX Framework Agreement and that the government of Liberia desists from taking any further steps that may jeopardize its rights under Liberian law and refrain from taking any action, or facilitating HPX to take any action under the HPX Framework Agreement.

The global steel giant has also taken exception to SOLWAY’s mining license and argued that under the MDA, it enjoys exclusive right and license to conduct exploration, development, production, and marketing of Iron Ore and associated products, as well as rehabilitation of the associated infrastructure in its areas.

The company warned that Solway’s license to explore iron ore falls within its concession area and it is clear that the issuance of the Solway License violates Arcelor Mittal’s exclusive rights under the MDA.

AML, which has invested more than 1.6 billion United States Dollars in Liberia and created over 3,000 jobs for Liberian citizens has also accused the government of granting two additional graphite mining licenses to Mekinel Holdings Limited and SRG Liberia, without consultation, as required by the MDA.

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