Liberia, Arcelor Mittal sign billion-dollar mining deal

Liberia, Arcelor Mittal sign billion-dollar mining deal

The world’s largest steelmaker, Arcelor Mittal, signed an iron ore mining contract with Liberia that promises to pour more than a billion dollars (760 million euros) in investment into the war-ravaged state.

“This is a landmark project for both Liberia and for Mittal Steel,” said the head of the steelmaker’s Liberian operations, Joseph Mathews, before the signing ceremony.

The agreement is a revised version of an August 2005 deal which was rejected as unfair by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf when she was elected five months later.

On the Liberian side, the deal — which will generate more than 20,000 jobs once the mining operation is fully operational — was signed by the minister responsible for energy and mines, Eugene Shannon, as well Justice Minister Johnson Morris and Finance Minister Antoinette Sayeh.

Sirleaf said in a press conference Thursday that details of the contract would be unveiled on January 6 during a visit to Liberia by Lakshmi Mittal, CEO of the steelmaker and one of the richest individuals in the world.

Arcelor Mittal said earlier this month that it had accepted to revise a contract signed in 2005 giving the company access to a billion cubic meters of iron ore in exchange for an investment estimated at 900 million dollars (more than 680 million euros).

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