ArcelorMittal resumes iron ore production in Liberia

ArcelorMittal, the world’s top steel maker, has started production at its $1.5-billion iron ore mine in Liberia, after work was stalled there last year, a senior official said on Tuesday.

The firm is developing its Mount Nimba project in Liberia, as well as the $2.2-billion Faleme mine in Senegal, where exploration is still ongoing as it moves into production.

“It’s actually in production already, they started blasting within the last two months and first shipment is due this month, the first train,” Ian Cope, global exploration manager for iron and coal at ArcelorMittal, said about the Mount Nimba project in Liberia.

Cope was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an African iron ore conference.

“I think it is projected to be no more than a couple of million tonnes a year for the first one to two years and thereafter ramping up,” he said.

Top of the agenda
Cope said output was from Mount Tokadeh, one of several deposits in the Nimba county the miner was exploring.

He said the company was no longer in talks with BHP Billiton to possibly combine their assets in Liberia and neighbouring Guinea.

“It’s my understanding that those talks are no longer active,” he said.

Cope said that while ArcelorMittal had no presence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the high-grade Kilo-Mojo iron ore resource was found, it did seem as if political risk in country was not a factor deterring investors anymore.

“It’s self-evident that risk is no longer at the top of the agenda,” he said.

African projects are only expected to contribute less than 5% of a projected 47% growth in global iron ore demand by 2020, he said.—Reuters

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