House To Probe China Union Over Alleged MDA Failure

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House Plenary has mandated its Committees on Investment & Concession, Mine & Energy, Contract Monopolies, Judiciary, Good Governance and Labor to probe China-Union (Hong Kong) Mining Company Limited and China-Union Investment. Plenary’s decision on Tuesday, February 13, 2024 was as a result of a communication from Bong County Electoral District 7 Representative Foday Fahnbulleh in which he stated  that China-Union (Hong Kong) Mining Company Limited and China-Union Investment (Liberia Bong Mines Company Limited since entering into a Mineral Development Agreement on January 19, 2009, as 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, it has refused to live up to its social corporate Responsibilities. The Bong County lawmaker told plenary that the Mineral Development Agreement of the Company, 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 for providing an annual social contribution of US$3.5 million to communities within the concession area, providing a general education funding of US$250,000.00 annually for scholarships, and operation of a Mining and Geology Institute at the University of Liberia. Also, the MDA provides for the employment of 70% 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$100,000.00 in the first ten years and US$250,000.00 per year for the next fifteen years”. The communication states.  Rep. Fahnbulleh in his communication read in plenary Tuesday, noted that since the effective date of the MDA, the Concessionaire has conducted operations within the concession area including Bong Mines which falls within my district. January 19, 2024, marked the 15th anniversary of the MDA.  “Regrettably, Hon. Speaker and Distinguished Colleagues, 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 asserted. Rep. Fahnbulleh wants plenary 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 at the same time invite the Ministers of Lands, Mines and Energy and Minister of Finance and Development Planning, along with the National Investment Commissioner.

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