No iron-ore for Tata Steel in Liberia

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Mumbai, Sep 17: Tata Steel has clarified that it will take up with the Liberian Government with regard to its disqualification in the retendering process, cancelling the ongoing bid process for the Western Cluster Iron Ore Deposits in that country. In a statement on Tuesday, Sep 16 night, Tata Steel pointed out that it was 'completely unaware of and not connected to whatever alleged' external influence and improprieties 'the Government has referred to' while cancelling the tender and disqualifying Tata Steel for the rebid.

The release said ''Tata Steel wishes to further point out that the Government's own due diligence report done by Deloitte&Touche (quoted above) has pointed out that Tata Steel is rated very highly in the entire world with respect to Corporate Social Responsibility and ethical business practices high standards that the company has maintained in all its business dealings for the past 100 years.

The company said it had been ''upfront and transparent in its dealings with relation to the bidding process'' and was unaware in what way this has led to use of external influence and improprieties to influence the bidding process.

Tata Steel is therefore seriously concerned that its reputation is being tarnished without verification and by mere allegations in media reports. The company is taking up these issues with Government of Liberia to seek clarification in this regard, it added.

The statement said while Tata Steel has not had the benefit of any formal notification from the Ministry of Lands Mines and Energy of Liberia, the reports indicate that the proposed start of production in 2017, stated in Tata Steel's proposal, is one of the Government's concerns, in addition to what the statement has referred to as reports of ''external influence and improprieties'' in the bidding process.

With regard to the issue of the start of production year Tata Steel is convinced, based on its vast experience in developing mining projects, that, the start of production in a green field project involving exploration and development of infrastructure like the Western Cluster is likely to take about eight years.

Subsequently, Tata Steel had also informed the Government that if desired, they could advance the start of production date by two years. Moreover, Tata Steel's bid was rated very favourably in terms of technical, financial and social commitment parameter by international consultants, Deloitte&Touche, in their report to the Government of Liberia (which is now available on a media website).

Moreover, Tata Steel's representation in Liberia was handled through a Liberia-based consultancy firm as Tata Steel has no office or representative in that country. Tata Steel appointed the firm to represent the company in the bidding process and also advice it on local issues and sentiments related to community and other initiatives. This is a normal business practice and the relevant Government agencies were kept informed.


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