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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Swiss Miner Solway Demands $50 Million Settlement From Liberia Over Iron Ore Dispute

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Swiss mining giant, Solway Investment Group is seeking a $50 million settlement from the Liberian government to resolve an ongoing international arbitration dispute over the sale of its assets in the West African country.

The move comes as Liberia faces growing pressure to address the longstanding legal battle and its potential impact on foreign investment.

In a letter addressed to Liberia’s Justice Minister Oswald Tweh and shared with President Joseph Boakai and key cabinet members including the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Boima Kamara, Solway said it is seeking the payment over the unlawful expropriation of its rights in the country.

The dispute between Solway and the Liberian government has been ongoing for nearly a year, with the matter now reaching the international arbitration stage under the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands. Solway irone ore mines in Liberia were surrendered to ArcelorMittal during the George Weah administration.

In the letter, Solway’s Chief Investment Officer, Pavel Ermolaevd warned that the legal proceedings would incur significant costs for both parties, thus indicating Solway willingness to consider a “final and binding out-of-court settlement” provided an agreement can be reached quickly.

Ermolaev said that the requested $50 million compensation is “significantly less” than what Solway considers to be the fair value of its investment in Liberia.

The company proposed that the arbitration proceedings be stayed immediately upon the execution of a settlement agreement and finally discontinued (with no order as to costs) once the funds are received in Solway’s accounts within 28 days.

The letter also addressed the involvement of Alford Boimah Morgan, stating that he no longer represents or is authorized to bind Solway’s subsidiary, Solway Mining Incorporation (SMI), in the settlement discussions.

The dispute between Solway and the Liberian government has cast a shadow over the country’s efforts to attract foreign investment, particularly in the mining sector.

How the case is resolved could have far-reaching implications for Liberia’s economic development and its reputation among international investors.

Analysts suggest that a swift and amicable settlement would not only address the immediate legal concerns but also send a positive signal to the global business community about Liberia’s commitment to upholding the rule of law and protecting foreign investments.

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