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Politics News

House nullifies BHP Billiton contract, but…

The House of Representatives has nullified the transfer contract between BHP Billiton and Jonah Capitals on grounds that the contract is incomplete and did not meet the approval of both Houses of the Legislature here.

Speaking on Thursday, April 6, in the chambers of the House of Representatives during regular session, Montserrado County Electoral District#4 Representative Henry B. Fahnbulleh, who had earlier written a communication to the plenary of the House on the matter, said; BHP Billiton in 2015 transferred its assets to Jonah Capitals without the acquiescence of the Liberian Legislature.

Rep. Fahnbulleh explained to his colleagues that the assets deal was only reportedly done with the Executive Branch of government, especially Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, contrary to Section 23.1 of the Mineral Development Authority which states: “No transfer of (1), this agreement or a mining license, or (2), any rights of the company in a mind or any immovable infrastructure (other than in the ordinary course of renewal and replacement of its properties and other than transfer of products in the ordinary course of business) is permitted unless the transfer has received the prior written consent of the government.”

He said there was a transfer done without the body informed, which in his mind, is a breach of contract.

But the Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy, Patrick Sendolo, objects, arguing that he has been to the House [several] times for that same issue and if the lawmakers wanted him to appear every day, he will.

Speaking during the hearing, the Minister said as far as BHP Billiton is concerned, he read the law and it did not require legislative ratification.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is expected to further discuss the matter following its return from Easter break, which is expected to end on April 25.

Local media reported on November 2, 2015 that Liberia’s iron ore interests of BHP Billiton have been acquired by Cavalla Resources, a wholly-owned subsidiary of investment holding company Jonah Capital, a private company with a portfolio of assets primarily in the mineral resource sector in sub- Saharan Africa.

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Cavalla has been granted the exclusive rights over the four exploration areas of Goe, Fantro, Kitoma, St. John River, South and Toto, as Jonah Capital’s exclusive iron ore holding company.

The transaction is also said to enjoy full support from government as it fosters economic growth following the eradication of the Ebola virus in 2015. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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