ArcelorMittal Takes Over Solway
ArcelorMittal Liberia is said to have finally taken over the concession of Solway Mining, which was conducting exploration on two mountains in northern Nimba.
The agreement, according to report, was signed last week, leading to ArcelorMittal deploying a team of geologists and equipment to immediately start work at the new concession.
The Solway concession contains two mountains, including Mount Bleh and Delton, all situated in Zor and Gbar forest—a community forest near the East Nimba Nature Reserve.
Solway Mining has, for the last few years, received praise from the project-impacted communities for prioritizing their welfare but left the communities in limbo about its decision to sell its operation to ArcelorMittal, which has had problems with local welfare issues.
Yealue W. Yealue, the Commissioner of Sanniquellie Mah Administrative District, has confirmed ArcelorMittal’s takeover of Solway and said it was done in the presence of the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
The communication department of ArcelorMittal Liberia could neither deny nor confirm the takeover of Solway when contacted.
In 2019, the Ministry of Mines and Energy awarded Solway an exploration license for Mt. Detton and Mt. Blei. However, Solway’s iron ore exploration project led to a standoff with ArcelorMittal, which had bitterly complained that the license given to its rival was an encroachment of its concession area.
The steel giant had claimed that Solway’s agreement was unlawful, as it was overlapping its concession area in Nimba County. The disagreement led to the withholding of the Solway Mineria concession agreement, which appeared to be a factor behind the selling of assets to ArcelorMittal.
Meanwhile, the turning over of the concession to ArcelorMittal has angered some citizens since their communities will own no share in the new company’s operation as compared to Solway’s proposal.
Community leaders claimed that they are afraid that they would be left behind as “it is done in other ArcelorMittal project-affected areas” cited the case of Yekepa, which they claimed is yet to be fully rehabilitated.
Tension between ArcelorMittal and its project affects communities and has always been in the making with accusations that the steel giant neglecting it social corporate responsibility due to the low communities among others.
However, efforts by the GNN to speak to the previous management of SOLWAY regarding this latest development on the ‘Takeover’ of this company by ArcelorMittal proved ubnsuccessful.