US Ambassador Wants AML MDA Rectified -Says The Deal Will Help The Country

MONROVIA – The Ambassador of the United States to Liberia, Michael McCarthy has said repeatedly that delaying the rectification of extension of the 3rd Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) between the Government of Liberia and ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) in the One Billion dollars ($1b) deal “is not helpful” and will discourage investors.

 Speaking on the state run ELBC radio recently, Ambassador McCarthy said he believes the deal offers vast economic benefits but admitted it has “become much more complicated”.

“What I will say is that companies that are coming looking at Liberia as a place to invest will also be discouraged by how long this activity is taking”.

He said it was a “healthy fact” for the legislature to agree to a deal that the executive is going to hold citizens to with a private company. He said as good as the deal is to the economy, what according to him is that it is not helpful that it was taking so long to act and to finalize the agreement. He added that the US Embassy was waiting to see where it all ends with respect to the deal.

Ambassador McCarthy said he still believes the investment will bring benefits to the country in terms of higher taxes from export of commodities. He said in as much as many things have happened since the signing of the deal last year, he stated that he still believes the economic potential it offers are good for the people of Liberia.

“I will say like we say in Politics, that was a long time ago and so many things have happened or changed since that time” he said.

When asked if he now has a change of perspective towards the AML investment, the ambassador replied that he still stands by his earlier comments that the deal when passed “will bring Liberia more than $800 million in foreign direct investment, hundreds of millions more in government revenue, and significant expansion of mining sector jobs, temporary and long-term.”

When asked whether he still saw the MDA deal as good and to get his thoughts about it,  the US Diplomat said “I still agreed with all of those words”, adding “the investment that ArcelorMittal-Liberia wants will make a huge difference in the economy, and in the lives of the people”

In September 2021, the Government of the Republic of Liberia and ArcelorMittal-Liberia, the world’s leading steel company, signed an amendment to its existing 2013 Mineral Development Agreement to make way for the expansion of the Company’s mining and logistics operations in Liberia.

If the MDA came into effect, more than 2000 jobs would be created during its construction phase alone, which Liberians envisaged to fill most of the roles created.

The expansion project – which could encompass processing, rail and port facilities, had promised to be the largest mining project in West Africa with a One Billion Dollars investment  to finalize the project, an effective brownfield expansion.

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