13 March 2017

Liberia: Lands & Mines Minister Confirms Putu Mining Exit From Liberia

Monrovia — Russian steel giant, Putu Mining, has pulled out of Liberia, Liberia's Minister of Lands, Mines, and Energy, Patrick Sendolo revealed during an appearance at the Liberian Senate.

Minister Sendolo said the company left because it could not handle the mining process singlehandedly.

He said the company tried looking for partners but they could not find any.

"From all practical purposes, Putu is basically out of Liberia but technically the MDA is still valid though Putu walked away from the agreement," he said.

The minister's appearance before the committee on Monday was a result of a communication written by Senator Alphonso Gaye of Grand Gedeh County, requesting his colleagues to investigate circumstances surrounding the pullout of Putu Mining.

The Grand Gedeh County lawmaker also requested the government to state whether or not the concession company has completely ceased its operation in the country, and if so what has led to their closure.

He also requested information about whether or not Putu relinquished their rights to the concession or are still clinging on to it.

Speaking on other mining activities in Liberia, Sendolo told the senate that discussions are ongoing between the Government of Liberia and Arcelor Mittal to see reasons how to amend the Mineral development Agreement.

The Government of Liberia entered into a mining agreement in 2006 with Arcelor Mittal to mine iron ore in Nimba.

A portion of the agreement gives the company an obligation to construct the roads from Ganta to Yekepah but that is yet to be met but the minister said conversations are ongoing.

He assured members of the senate that there will be no movement, or work on Arcelor Mittal until ongoing feasibility studies are concluded.

In June 2015, 250 workers were redundant at Arcelor Mittal, while 142 jobs were also sliced in 2016 leaving many frustrated about the prospects of the world's leading iron producer presence in Liberia.

The slicing of social development funds for Grand Bassa, Nimba and Bong Counties by the company also remained a contentious issue; observers described as a 'gloomy' future for the company's investment in Liberia.


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