ArcelorMittal, Liberia agree iron ore project expansion

ArcelorMittal and the Liberian government have signed an amendment to the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) which will enable ArcelorMittal to expand its mining and logistics operations in Liberia.

After the amendment comes into effect, ArcelorMittal Liberia says it will significantly ramp up production of premium iron ore and generate nearly 2,000 new jobs. The expansion project includes the construction of a new concentration plant, substantial expansion of mining operations, and rail and port facilities. The capital required to finalise the project is expected to be approximately $0.8 billion.

The first concentrate is expected in late 2023, ramping up overall production to 15 million tonnes/year. The agreement will allow ArcelorMittal to reserve the right to expand output to 30mt.

Liberia president George Manneh Weah says: “This agreement demonstrates to the world that Liberia welcomes foreign direct investment and is a key emerging destination for capital. The further investment by ArcelorMittal in Liberia bears testament to the company’s confidence in the future of this country.”

ArcelorMittal chairman Lakshmi Mittal observes: “The expansion of mine, processing, rail and port facilities is the largest iron ore project in West Africa and will draw international attention to Liberia as an attractive country to invest in.”

ArcelorMittal adds it has invested over $1.7 billion in the country over the past 15 years.

ArcelorMittal Liberia has been running its first-phase 5m t/y direct shipping ore (DSO) operation since 2011. It utilises a 243km rail line that transports ore to the Port of Buchanan for export.

Concentration plant construction was initially started in 2013 but suspended due to the onset of Ebola in West Africa and the subsequent force-majeure declaration by the onsite contracting companies (see Kallanish passim).

Burak Odabasi Turkey