Mittal Steel in New Liberian Government Review Process
January 11, 2007
Cleary Gottlieb represented Mittal Steel in the review by the new Government of Liberia of the mining development agreement signed in August 2005, which gave Mittal access to about 1 billion metric tons of rich iron ore reserves in Western Liberia.
Following the election of Ms. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to office in November 2005, the new Government of Liberia, while recognizing the validity of the contracts signed by the predecessor transitional government, launched a review process involving all significant investor agreements. Mittal agreed to cooperate with this review process. The parties eventually engaged in long and strenuous renegotiations of certain matters regarding allocation of ownership and control rights over existing infrastructure, tax and customs treatment, guarantee of project execution and project-related environmental obligations. An Amendment to the mineral development agreement was signed in Monrovia on December 28, 2006. The Amendment, which remains subject to ratification by the Liberian Legislature, confirms the parties’ commitment to the project, with Mittal expected to invest more than $1 billion over the life of the project for mine development, related railway and port infrastructure and community development.