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Liberia's ministry of lands, mines and energy issued the licence following approval of a feasibility study on the Putu iron ore project submitted by Severstal on March 31, the miner said on Monday July 7.
Severstal has been looking for a partner to develop the 4.4 billion-tonne iron ore resource, which has an estimated preliminary capex of $3-4 billion.
“We believe that [having the licence] will further improve investment [interest in] the project”, Dmitry Sakhno, director of Severstal’s projects department said.
Severstal bought the Putu project in south-eastern Liberia in 2012, but has not rushed developing the greenfield deposit amid wider capital cost cuts to improve efficiency.
Putu does not have direct access to the existing rail and port infrastructure in Liberia operated by global miner and steelmaker ArcelorMittal for its Yekepa iron ore project in the north of the country.
The government of Liberia has issued a class A mining licence (for large-scale operations) to Putu Iron Ore Mining Co, a fully-owned subsidiary of Russian steel and mining major Severstal.