Solway Mining Company lose of its licenses has effectively left the Nimba iron ore reserves in the hands of global steelmaker ArcelorMittal, which stands accused of profiting from the government’s action.
African Intelligence reports Solway was about to launch its iron ore project and was not informed about the licenses tranfer.
It has lost assets to Arcelor MITTAL which is strengthening its grips on iron ore production and its rail line monopoly to the detriment of Friedland’s U.S. company HPX, the publication said in its Sept. 29, 2023 edition.
According to the magazine, George Weah endorsed the discreet transfer of SOLWAY’S mining licenses to ArcelorMittal before the launch of his campaign for a second turn in office as President of Liberia.
The Pan-African magazine said it has consulted confidential documents and has had interviews, and is now convinced that the President withdrew last month a license belonging to Solway and gave it to ArcelorMittal.
Solway is based in Zue, in Switzerland, and is headed by Dan Bronstein. The company was operating in Nimba County where hundreds of youths were employed.
“The transfer gives Arcelor MITTAL a virtual Monopoly on iron ore in Liberia and may jeopardize the plans of Robert Friedland’s mining group, High Power Exploration (HPX).
With Washington’s support, the tycoon had hoped to transport iron from his firm’s Nimba project in neighboring Guinea by rail for export from the Liberian port of Buchanan.
But the exclusive right to use the railway line granted to Arcelor MITTAL Liberia has not been terminated by Weah, which he promised U.S. officials and mining operators he would do.
According to Africa Intelligence, the transfer of licenses to Arcelor MITTAL has angered the U.S., administration and further strained its relations with Weah.
The Liberian President had a frosty meeting with a delegation from the U.S. State Department in New York last week prior to his speech at the U.N. general assembly.
Ending Arcelor MITTAL’s monopoly on the rail line and making it “multi-user” under an independent operator, is strategic for US interests and the development of Liberia.