Tatas shelves plan to bid for $1.6 bn Liberia iron ore project
Tata Steel said it has shelved its plans of re-bidding for the USD 1.6 billion iron ore project in Liberia “The company has decided not to participate in the re-bid for the property," a Tata Steel spokesperson told PTI. Asked about the reasons for it, he said there was nothing specific. Industry sources, however, said the unpleasant experience the steel major had during the initial course of bidding for the Western Cluster mineral assets when they were charged of "acts of impropriety", culminated into its walkout. In 2008, the world’s sixth largest steel producer was barred from bidding for the project for its alleged acts of impropriety, as reported in a section of the media. The Liberian government later absolved the company of the charges and allowed it to re-bid. In response to Tata Steel’s letter of remonstration against media reports, Liberia’s Ministry of Justice informed that investigations did not show the company’s involvement in acts of impropriety as these have not been substantiated by the investigation panel of the country’s Public Procurement and Concession Commission.
The Western Cluster project consists of three deposits and two non-functional mines. Tata Steel was considering to acquire the property to feed the iron ore requirement of its European arm Corus.