With the signing of an MOU for development of an integrated mining project in Senegal, a mineral development agreement in Liberia and also oil interests in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mittal Steel, the world's largest steel company is developing a strong presence within ECOWAS countries and is poised to becoming a major player in the economic development and integration of the sub-region.
Of particular note is the Senegalese project. The railway infrastructure when completed and operational will not only ship iron ore from the company's Faleme deposit but will reduce expenditure required to connect landlocked Mali to a new seaport that will be constructed by the company. Mali has in recent years been cut off from the seaport in the Ivory Coast due to the civil unrest there.
A company spokesman indicated that Mittal was awarded the rights to this project by the Senegalese government as it was the only company capable of prosecuting an integrated project which included mines, rail and port without resort to time delaying bankable feasibility studies.