The government of Liberia on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a Singaporean company, Al Khaldiya Mining Private Ltd., for the transshipment of iron ore from neighboring Guinea.
The deal is expected to see Liberia generate millions of United States dollars annually.
As per the MOU, the company will transship some 789 million tons of iron ore from its Diecké project in Guinea, which is just 2 kilometers north of Ganta, Nimba County, through the Yekepa-Buchanan rail line.
“We are very happy to sign this MOU with the Liberian government,” Al Khaldiya Mining Private Ltd CEO Rohan Patnaik said in a press release issued on Thursday.
He added: “It will enable us to work with Liberian and Guinean workforce and the private sector that will benefit all parties.
“The Transshipment of iron ore would provide a significant number of jobs,” Patnaik said, adding it would create jobs in the trucking, spare parts, the Port of Buchanan and other markets in the mining supply chain of the mining sector.”
“This is a win-win situation,” he said, noting further, “We will make sure there are no losers.”
Al Khaldiya, a private company backed by a Kuwaiti investment, is expected to export between 4-10 million tons of iron ore through the Port of Buchanan each of the 25 years it is expected to operate the Diecké project.
Rohan Patnaik said the transshipment will generate much-needed revenue and spur growth of the mining sector, which, the World Bank estimates, will grow by 7.8 percent this year due to increased gold and iron ore production.
“The company would conduct a comprehensive assessment of the environmental and social impacts of the iron ore transshipment on local communities and forest for the transshipment project, Patnaik averred.
The project sits within a corridor where a recent surge in investment has led to the start of multiple iron projects by top-tier international mining companies, notably HPX, Niron Metals, and the Fortescue-backed Al Maktoum company, alongside ArcelorMittal’s Tokadeh project.