Liberia still silent on iron-ore ‘disqualification’ – Delta Mining

10th October 2008 By: Martin Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

South Africa’s diversified resources company, Delta Mining Consolidated, was still waiting for formal notification of its Liberian iron-ore disqualification, the company said last week.

Delta CEO Heine van Niekerk said that his company remained “in the dark” about its much-publicised unilateral exclusion from the Western Cluster bid.

Van Niekerk said that Delta’s status in the bid appeared to have changed after a meeting of Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s Cabinet and Liberia Information Minister Lawrence Bropleh’s subsequent inference of possible “impropriety”.

Later, international business news agency Bloomberg quoted the Liberian daily, New Democrat, as reporting no clear evidence of “impropriety”, but that Delta did not have the financial capacity, unless backed by South Africa’s State-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), which had assets exceeding $12,2-billion.

Delta legal counsel Lizane van Rooyen pointed out, however, that the IDC held 26% of Delta’s Liberian strategic alliance and that other partners included AMB Capital, of Johannesburg, Canaccord Adams ,of London and Mirabaud, of Geneva.

“We feel that this alliance more than satisfactorily demonstrates our capacity to fulfil our financial commitment,” Van Rooyen added.

Delta’s lawyers Webber Wentzel Bosens had written to Bropleh demanding a retraction of his defamatory allegations, and also to Liberian Land, Mines and Energy Minister Dr Eugene Shannon requesting written confirmation of Delta’s Western Cluster Iron Ore status, but no reply had been received.

Van Rooyen said that Delta had put a “huge amount of effort and expense” into this project, to which it was still committed and was hopeful that the current uncertainties could be resolved through face-to-face negotiation.