BHP Billiton and ArcelorMittal have announced that they will not be moving forward with the proposed regional iron ore joint venture.
The companies announced in January that they were discussing the possibility of combining their iron ore interests in Guinea and Liberia.
However, after months of discussion, the companies have decided that they will instead continue to work on their iron ore projects independently.
BHP Billiton, the world’s largest diversified resources company, repeated its commitment to progressing its four iron ore deposits here in Liberia, saying there should be no doubt that the company’s intention is to continue to invest in Liberia and advance its projects in this country.
BHP Billiton indicated that the creation of a world class iron ore business in West Africa remains its goal – in fact, that has been the company’s goal since it first came to Liberia in late 2004. “We had been exploring in Liberia for several years before we began discussions about a potential joint venture. Our plans will not be affected by the decision announced today. It is business as usual for us”, a BHP Billiton spokesperson confirmed.
BHP Billiton has iron ore deposits in the Nimba, Bong, Grand Bassa and Margibi Counties and has its Liberia Iron Ore head office in Monrovia.
Since 2005, the company has invested over US$50 million in Liberia. BHP Billiton has sponsored over 100 projects and events on a national and community level including most recently the Liberia National Football Team for their game against Zimbabwe, and the rehabilitation of three historic Palava Huts in Sanniquellie as part of this year’s Independence Day celebrations.
BHP Billiton currently has over 300 employees in Liberia and is recruiting for a number of additional positions as it looks to step up its level of activity in Liberia.
BHP Billiton noted that it has concluded a Mineral Development Agreement with the Government of Liberia and looks forward to its ratification by the Legislature.