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Sesa Goa, Elenilto to Invest $2.6 Billion in Liberia Iron Ore

Sesa Goa Ltd., India’s largest iron-ore exporter, and Elenilto Minerals & Mining LLC will jointly invest more than $2.6 billion in Liberia’s Western Cluster Ltd. as rising demand for the steelmaking ingredient boosts prices.

Elenilto’s share of investment in the iron-ore company will be $77 million, it said yesterday in a statement. The Liberian government will receive $41 million from the partnership after ratifying the Mineral Development Agreement, said Elenilto, a unit of Tel Aviv-based EngelInvest Group.

Liberia, the West African nation rebuilding its economy after civil wars between 1989 and 2003, is expanding its iron-ore industry after an increase in Asian demand pushed prices up 43 percent last year. OAO Severstal is developing the Putu ore project in the country, while Sable Mining Africa Ltd. said in June it acquired a stake in the Kpo Range exploration permit.

Sesa Goa, a unit of London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc, said Aug. 7 it would buy 51 percent of Western Cluster for $90 million. Western Cluster plans to develop a project that includes iron-ore deposits and transport infrastructure to export the material.

Iron ore with 62 percent iron content arriving at China’s Tianjin Port is trading at $177.80 a metric ton, according to The Steel Index. Prices have gained 4.5 percent this year.

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