EU High Representative Josep Borrell was questioned about the agreement signed between ArcelorMittal and the Liberian governement over expanding the Yekepa iron ore mine. The agreement has already been deemed worrisome by the Liberian parliament and companies working near Yekepa.
Guinean president Mamady Doumbouya has ordered a review of the rail and port infrastructure plans associated with the Simandou iron ore project, thereby delaying the start of the railway's construction. Liberia is also taking another look at plans for ArcelorMittal's rail line to transport ore through its territory.
Having completed the pre-feasibility study for its Nimba iron ore project in Guinea, SMFG has now finalised nearly all aspects for the project's advancement, except for one key issue: the transportation of its future output by train on ArcelorMittal's rail track, which will be needed to get its shipments to buyers.
The post of mines and geology minister, which involves overseeing Guinea's biggest economic sector, is highly coveted. With efforts currently under way to form a first post-coup government, it is attracting a lot of applicants.
On 10 September, the Liberian government signed an agreement with ArcelorMittal to expand the Yekepa iron mine, creating unrest among Guinean miners, who need the Liberian railway to develop their own iron projects.
UNESCO is concerned about the consequences for biodiversity from iron ore mining in Guinea's Nimba mountains. The company that owns the site plans to submit the first version of its study in 2022. This study is supposed to explain how to develop the site without causing any damage to the area.
President George Weah's political opponents say they are concerned about the deal between the governments in Monrovia and Conakry on the transportation of Guinean iron via Liberia. Their concern is partly motivated by domestic issues.