Monrovia, Liberia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 20 November 2008 – The Western Cluster iron ore project bidding process in Liberia – which was won by South African concessionaire Delta Mining Consolidated (Delta), and then revoked by the Liberian government with no apparent justification – has now been subjected to final hearings in two weeks’ time.
Reporting from the Liberian capital, allAfrica.com quoted The Analyst as saying that, according to a decision of the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC), the government was ordered to stay all proceedings or action in the re-bidding of the Western Cluster iron ore project in Liberia, which would have nullified the previous decision that empowered Delta to carry out the contract.
The commission reasoned that in February 2008 the government had announced that Delta was the provisional winner of the Western Cluster Iron Ore concession in Liberia, but had then revoked that decision unilaterally in September 2008.
The commissioners ruled that after awarding the concession to Delta, which followed the fact that the company had undergone an independent due diligence process conducted by Deloitte and Touche, as required under Liberian law, Delta was found to be the most suitable bidder.
The PPCC also saw that following the due diligence process, the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy had again recommended that Delta be awarded the US$1.6billion (R16.3 billion) concession.
The report added that, despite a formal request by Delta’s lawyers, the Liberian government had failed to provide Delta with detailed reasons for its actions, and had instead relied on its alleged discretion to cancel any bid and commence a new tender process at any time.
Late last month Delta submitted a formal complaint to the PPCC claiming that the government’s conduct in failing to award the concession was unlawful and lacking in due process. Delta argued in its complaint to the commission that the government’s conduct contravened the PPCC Act, because the action was without due process, but relied on allegations which, by the government’s own admission, were not supported by any evidence.
Delta’s complaint was then referred to the complaints, appeals and review panel of the commission for consideration.
Subsequently, the commission wrote a letter to the government dated 30 October 2008 and ordered it to stay all or any proceeding or actions such as the re-bidding of the Western Cluster Project until the case was fully investigated. The commission is expected to hand down a decision within the next two weeks.