On Monday, January 20, China Union Mining Company announced its shipment of 15,000 tons of iron ore from Bong Mines as part of its initial iron ore shipment from Liberia to China.
China Union signed a US$2.8billion Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) with the Government of Liberia in 2010 to extract iron-ore from the Bong Ranges in Fuamah District, Lower Bong County, for a period of 25 years.
According to contract details, most of the company’s operations are expected to take place in phases, including its social infrastructure package for the concession area.
At the moment, the company has 300 employees, not including Liberian contractors.
“China Union will start exporting 15,000 tons of iron-ore from Liberia to China. This is part of our plan to increase production and create more jobs for Liberians” disclosed Xing Ming Ding, China Union Deputy General Manager.
He made the disclosure in Bong Mines on Monday at the official turning over ceremony of 827 housing units previously occupied by squatters and former workers of the Bong Mining Company.
Prior to Monday’s event, about 827 family heads received US$500 each from the Government of Liberia as token; allowing the company to take over the housing units where most of its employees are expected to live throughout the concession period.
Mr. Xing also assured the Government of China Union’s commitment to providing more job opportunities for Liberians.
Mr. Xing disclosed that major works are ongoing on the Kakata-Bong Mines-Handi road, and disclosed further that the Community Central High School and the town’s only hospital, too, are undergoing similar facelift.
“We are happy to be fulfilling a significant part of the MDA with China Union. Turning over of these facilities is a major part of the contract reached between China and the Government of Liberia,” said Sam Russ, Deputy Minister for Operations, Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy.
He called for cooperation from both the citizens and the Government of Liberia as his group intensifies its mining operations.
Also responding at the takeover event, Mr. Hampton Giddings, Commissioner of Fuamah District, lauded the company for bringing transformation to the district.
He praised China Union for helping restore social infrastructures in the area, including paving of the Kakata-Bong Mines road, the renovation of the Bong Central High, and provision of drugs and medical equipment for the hospital, among other things.
“We are very happy to see what China Union is doing for us is Fuamah District,” said Commissioner Giddings.