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Bong Lawmaker Lobbies To Probe China-Union

By Grace Q. Bryant
Bong County District 7 Representative, Foday Fahnbulleh, has written a communication to the plenary to invite the Hong Kong Mining Company Limited and China-Union Investment (Liberia Bong Mines Company) for violating the 2.6 billion Mineral Development Agreement which was signed on January 19, 2009.
In his communication, Rep. Fahnbulleh told his colleagues that China-Union (Hong Kong) Mining Company Limited and China-Union Investment (Liberia Bong Mines Company Limited) entered into a Mineral Development Agreement on January 19, 2009, which was a result of a general solicitation for bid proposals for the exploration and mining of iron ore issued by the Government of Liberia on January 23, 2008 in a document called the Bong Range Tender.
He noted that the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) grants China-Union Hong Kong and China Union Bong Mines (jointly as concessionaire) the rights to explore and mine iron ore in the Bong Range. The details contained in the MDA, were accepted by the Concessionaire.
He explained that the MDA, among other things, provides for the concessionaire to conduct a Social Impact Assessment, develop a Social Action Plan, implement a Skills and Technology Development Plan, and renovate all existing roads in the concession areas including renovating, extending and building the Kakata to Heindi Road.
“The Concessionaire, in keeping with the MDA is also responsible to provide an annual social contribution of US$3.5m to communities within the concession area, a general education funding of US$250,000 annually for scholarships, and operation of a Mining and Geology Institute at the University of Liberia,” he added.
The Bong County lawmaker noted that the MDA provides for the employment of 70 percent Liberians within the ten most senior positions within the concessionaire in ten years. Under the MDA, the concessionaire is expected to generate 230MW of electricity, with 130MW being produced from a Hydro-Power Plan on the St. Paul River near Heindi.
“In addition to these, the Concessionaire is expected to operate and maintain an up-to-standard health facility within the concession area as well as pay a land rental fee of US$100,000 in the first ten years and US$250,000 per year for the next fifteen years,” he explained.
According to him, since the effective date of the MDA, the Concessionaire has conducted operations within the concession area including Bong Mines which falls within his district, claiming that January 19, 2024, marked the 15th anniversary of the MDA.
“The terms of the MDA have not been respected. The Kakata to Heindi Road remains uncompleted; St. Paul flows without a Hydro Power Plant, and the medical facility and scholarships among other issues remain a mirage. Last to mention, the employment quota and conditions of Liberians per the MDA have not been respected. Ten years from now, the MDA will mark its 25th year, which should end the terms of the agreement,” he disclosed.
He emphasized, “As we begin to turn a new chapter in our nation’s history through accountability and adequate representation, it is now time that we as the people’s representatives ensure that all corporate deals, specifically those ratified by the National Legislature, are adequately monitored, and implemented to the benefits of the people and the State.”
“To invite China Union to provide an update on the implementation of the MDA and its plan for the remaining 10 years of the MDA; and invite the Minister of Mines and Energy, Minister of Finance and Development Planning, National Investment Commission,” he noted.

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