The Putu Iron Ore Mining (PIOM) in Putu Petrokon, Grand Gedeh County, has disclosed plans to construct an alternative port in Grand Butal Point, Kponkpo Mongar Town in Sinoe County, if government grants it iron ore mining license.
The PIOM Management made the disclosure at a meeting with Information Minister Lewis Brown and delegation and the county administration, headed by Superintendent Peter Solo, at its field office in Putu Petrokon on Thursday.
The PIOM management said it intends to construct this new port directly south of the Sapo National Park, at Grand Butal Point (Kponkpo Mongar Town), Sinoe County to supplement the Sinoe Port that cannot hold most of the new mining equipment it will use for its operations.
According to the Liberia News Agency, the Administrative Officer, Tarley Dweh, said when completed, the port will contribute to the economic viability of that region, while at the same time mitigating potential environmental hazards to new communities that have been built along the Port of Sinoe.
He added that the Port of Greenville, which was built in the 1960s by a German company, is small in size and is also obsolete to handle the modern equipment that PIOM will use, as well as the expected volume of iron ore that will be shipped through the port.
According to Mr. Dweh, the construction of the new port is in fulfillment of the Mineral Development Agreement between the Government of Liberia and PIOM, saying the port will be completed in six years once PIOM starts full operation.
He noted that as part of its social corporate responsibility, the company will also pave the stretch of road between Grand Gedeh and Sinoe counties and provide funding to build the capacities of youth of the counties. He pointed out that PIOM has been operating in Liberia since 2005, with its operation are categorized in three phases — exploration, prefeasibility and feasibility phases.
“The exploration stage was to identify whether there was iron ore in the Putu Range, the pre-feasibility phase was to determine whether there is a large quantity and quality iron ore, while the third phase, which is the feasibility phase, is to determine whether it was feasible to make, huge investment in the sector and to continue with the technical study,” he explained.
Mr. Dweh said during the exploration, the company discovered an ore deposit of 4.4 billion tons as opposed to the 2.2 billion tons initially estimated, adding, “this was why as part of the Mineral Development Agreement, the management has fulfilled the third phase by presenting to the Government a feasibility study to be granted a license to mine ore from Putu,” he added.
The Government of Liberia, by law, has 90 days to either grant or deny the license to PIOM. If licensed, the company will have the right to mine ore for at least 80 years.