BHP Billiton announced that it has concluded a mineral development agreement with the government of Liberia in relation to four major iron ore leases.
The agreement sets out the legal and fiscal framework to develop the leases including stabilisation of taxes, duties and other trade terms. The Liberian leases are all proximate to the existing 250 kilometres rail corridor that runs from the Guinean border to the Liberian coast.
“We are delighted to have reached this agreement with the government of Liberia. Combined with the nearby Nimba deposit in Guinea, these leases have the potential to form the backbone of a world class cluster of mines around integrated rail and port infrastructure, much in the way the Western Australian iron ore operations started in the 1960s,” said Marcus Randolph, chief executive ferrous and coal.
BHP Billiton has been exploring in Liberia since 2005. Expenditures to date in exploration, studies, and other activities have totalled approximately US$50 million. Through this work, several potentially substantial ore bodies have been identified.
BHP Billiton will continue its activities in Liberia with a view to accelerating development. “The government of Liberia has demonstrated that it is open for business. With the completion of our mineral development agreement, we intend to expedite development of these resources,” remarked Randolph.
The mineral development agreement has been signed on behalf of the company and the government and is subject to ratification by the legislature.