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EU Ambassador to Liberia Reiterates the Benefits of ArcelorMittal’s Third Agreement

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By Democracy Watch News Desk

After the adoption of Arcelormittal’s US$800 million 3rd amendment, the European Union believes Liberia would become a vital supplier of iron ore for the decarbonized steel market in the European economic zone. Ambassador Laurent Delahousse, head of the EU delegation to Liberia, said that once the third revision to the mineral development agreement with ArcelorMittal is fixed, Liberia would benefit from the greatest foreign investment in recent years.

During the 10th EU-Liberia Political Dialogue in Monrovia, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse made the admission, which was co-chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah Sr. Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (ACP) States allows for the establishment of a platform for regular and comprehensive political dialogue between EU and its regional partners. The EU-Liberia political dialogue was held under Article 8 of this agreement.

Refurbishing blast furnaces with carbon capture and storage, increasing hydrogen-based direct reduced iron production, enhancing steel recycling rates, and reducing demand growth via more efficient steel usage are all part of the process of ore decarbonization.

Decarbonized ore’s economic advantages include energy savings, fewer accidents, decreased congestion, and the reduced negative health effects of air pollution, which outweigh the initial higher expenses of moving to electric cars and creating infrastructure for zero-emission public transportation.

Countries and businesses worldwide have set an ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and have laid out a wide range of policy and institutional reforms in order to achieve this goal in the face of global warming and climate change. Liberia could become a key destination for iron ore investment.

A modification to the Mineral Development Agreement, signed in September 2021 between the Liberian government and world-renowned steelmaker ArcelorMittal, would allow the business to expand its mining and logistical activities in Liberia.

There was an instant backlash against the Agreement once it was submitted to the Legislature, with claims that it was sponsored and prompted by businesses lying under the guise of public interest. Despite this, it’s become clear that most of the opposition to the deal stems from Arcelormittal and HPX-Ivanhole, a Guinean concessionaire, having competing business interests in rail and port access, and from ArcelorMittal and Soway, a Russian mining company, having competing business interests in land access. The return of ArcelorMittal’s contract to the Executive by the lower House has been linked to entrenched interests influenced by the two firms.

It is expected that ArcelorMittal would greatly increase its output of premium iron ore, creating 3000 major new employment and about $100 million in economic benefits for Liberia.

One of West Africa’s biggest mining projects, the development will include processing, rail, and port facilities and will need $0.8 billion in funding, plus an extra $200 million for rail and port expansion.

The number of public remarks he has made in support of the ArcelorMittal 3RD MDA has now reached two.

If Liberia’s government fails to negotiate an agreement with ArcelorMittal on its US$1 billion investment proposal, the European Union Ambassador warned last Monday.

If ArcelorMittal does not realize its aim of negotiating a negotiated investment in Liberia, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse warned it would be “detrimental for the people of Liberia.”

During a radio interview on Monday, Clarence Jackson of OK FM asked ArcelorMittal’s chief executive officer whether he was optimistic about the company’s investment in Liberia despite “local politics” and “competition from other mining corporations.”

To capitalize on Liberia’s natural riches, the EU envoy says the country can enhance the value of what it currently produces. ArcelorMittal’s US$1 billion investment in Liberia’s iron ore would follow this approach, by establishing a concentrator to increase the iron ore’s value before export. ArcelorMittal’s commitment to Liberia’s government and the counties in which it works will expand as a result of this.

In fact, she isn’t the first high-ranking EU official to call on Liberia’s government to ratify the ArcelorMittal agreement. In response to a query from Romanian MEP Ramona Strugariu concerning ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) with the Liberian government, EU High Representative and Vice-President Josep Borrell made remarks on the agreement on February 1, 2002.

There is no doubt that Liberia and its citizens will benefit from this new AML investment from the European Union, which works with Liberians to promote good governance, the rule of law, as well as supporting sustainable and inclusive development in policy dialogues and cooperation with partner countries, including Liberia.

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