By Julius T Jaesen II
Sources close to both the Ministry of Mines and Solway Mining have informed our investigation that the Government of Liberia has renewed the Exploration License of the Russian company – Solway Mining.
Solway Mining has all along pretended to be a Liberian company when in fact it is owned 85% by Solway Investment AG which is a Russian Mining company.
It can be recalled that while at the recent cabinet retreat in Nimba, President George Weah indicated on live television that the Solway Mining, holder of an Exploration License in the concession area of ArcelorMittal Liberia, was owned by a “Liberian boy”. The President might probably not know the fact that the company was owned by Russians. The “Liberian boy” might have deceived the President in making him to believe that he owned Solway Mining when the records show that Solway Mining is owned 85% by Russians.
Investigations show that Solway is a company owned by a Russian multimillionaire. Though the company is based in Switzerland, all publicly available information shows that the company is owned by a Russian, Alexander Bronstein. Mr. Bronstein, believed to be a good friend with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was born in Russia in 1954.
In a period of heightened scrutiny and sanction on Russians who are close to Putin, Liberia seems to be playing in this dangerous field. Our sources have informed us that the United States of America is not happy with Liberia seeking to be a haven for Russian investment dollars when the rest of the world has tightened the screws on Putin and his men.
It is still not clear why the Ministry of Mines decided to renew the Exploration License when it has become very apparent that the license is in the ArcelorMittal concession and villagers have become aware that Solway Mining is not what they say they are.
Our investigators have reached out to the Minister of Mines, Hon. Murray, and his deputy, Emmanuel Sherman to see if they can confirm or deny the issuance of the renewal.