WESTERN CLUSTER DOGFIGHT
With the Israeli firm Elenilto Minerals and Mining apparently on the verge of concluding negotiations in its mining interests in Liberia’s Western Cluster, focus must shift from attack mode to quick impact for Liberia, not the war-of-words now muddying the negotiations process.
THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE officer of the Israeli mining group Elenilto Mining Amir Nagammy on Tuesday emphatically dismissed suggestions and allegations that his company was ill-equipped to handle the mining of Liberia’s lucrative Western Cluster.
ADDRESSING the First Liberia Mining, Energy, and Petroleum Conference at the Monrovia City Hall Tuesday, Mr. Nagammy took aim at critics and detractors and competitors he says have maliciously embarked on a persistent and systematic campaign to smear the name and reputation of Elenilto, misrepresent the company and its investments – and portraying Elenilto as a small fortune hunting company without the resources and capability to undertake the Western Cluster Project and execute it to the benefit and satisfaction of the Government and people of Liberia.
AMIR’S DEFENSE comes in the wake of a FrontPageAfrica revelation that the Indian giant, Vedanta Resources Plc, has agreed to partner with Elenilto and rescue the controversial deal now enduring public scrutiny and widespread debates.
FRONTPAGEAFRICA RECENTLY REPORTED that the deal which appears to now have the vote of the inter-ministerial committee could bring relief amid concerns over the manner in which Liberia has been giving away its lucrative minerals for cheap.
THE WESTERN Cluster Iron Ore deposits comprising several deposits covering about 207.58 square kilometers consists of two formerly mined deposits and one Greenfield deposit. The Mano River Iron Ore deposits, formerly mined by the National Iron Ore Company (NIOC) has a known or proven reserve of about 80 million tons; the western portion of the Bomi Hills Iron Ore deposits, formerly mined by the Liberia Mining Company (LMC), has a known reserve of 50 million tons; and the Bea Mountains Iron Ore deposits, never mined before, has an estimated reserve of over 923 million tons.
THE BIDDING process took a hit last year when the United Nations Panel of Experts raised concerns about problems associated with the allocation of key mining concessions in Liberia, describing the much-controversial allocation of the ‘Western Cluster to the Israeli firm, Elenilto as problematic. FrontPageAfrica later gathered that within the past few weeks, Elenilto has negotiated with the Government of Liberia (GOL) and portably presented its bank guarantee, acquired a partnership with credible operating partner and has been on a positive track with the GOL. At the time, government sources were tight-lipped in releasing the name of the company coming to Elenito aid. One source did however, reveal that it was the Indian giant, Tata Steel but talks on that end failed to materialized.
NAGAMMY’S DEFENSE of Elenilto comes just a day after Sable Mining Company came out with a stinging reaction against allegations that it has been behind recent assaults on Elenilto by economist and businessman Sam Jackson.
SABLE DENIED that it has contracted Jackson on a consultancy basis, specifically as a renowned economist and as advisor on social development and impact-related matters. Said Sable: ‘‘Sable does not have exclusivity of Mr. Jackson’s services, and does not begrudge him his activities or consultancy on behalf of other companies, investors, individuals, or government(past or present). Sable does, however, distance itself from any public statements, criticisms, comments or debates Mr. Jackson engages in, in his personal capacity , or through various Civil Society groupings, outside of Sable’s direct activities.
WHILE WE APPLAUD the stance both companies have taken in recent weeks to clear the air over allegations dogging their activities in Liberia, we urge the parties looking to explore minerals in Liberia to reshape their focus to how their various social activities will instantly impact the lives of Liberians far and wide.
WESTERN LIBERIA is rich in resources and minerals and requires serious investors who are determined and willing to defy the odds and expectations in ensuring that Liberia benefits justly from whatever conclusions derive from ongoing bidding processes and contract negotiations.
WE ARE MOVED that Mr. Nagammy has expressed interest in making Liberia his permanent home when he stated that his commitment to the Western Cluster is not just as an investor, a businessman who sees great investment potentials and opportunities in his host country, but ‘‘as a stranger who has become a native of his host country and therefore loves his new home.’’
WHAT WE encourage from all investors coming to Liberia is a measure of honesty that comes with a commitment to the people of Liberia. Authorities must exhaust all necessary measures in ensuring that investors and those looking to explore Liberia’s resources have the best intentions and mean well for the people of Liberia. This is the only way Liberians may be able to reap the benefits of their hard work.