Steel Maker Claims Its Bid for Iron Ore Mine Is the Only Viable Option 

Steel maker ArcelorMittal said its offer for the purchase of a state-owned stake in iron ore mining company Ljubija is the only viable option and would ensure the long-term stability of mining industry in the Prijedor region. The company told SeeNews in an e-mailed statement it welcomes the decision passed on Wednesday by the Republika Srpska entity parliament not to sell Ljubija to Israeli Investment Group.

“With ArcelorMittal as the owner of Ljubija, and its world-class expertise in the field of management, the future of the mining and steel industries in Bosnia and Herzegovina is fully secured”, the company said.

“The parliament’s decision has also preserved the jobs of 3,150 people in ArcelorMittal Prijedor and ArcelorMittal Zenica, as well as thousands of indirect jobs held by subcontractors”.

34 of 80 MPs present in the RS Assembly voted on Wednesday not to sell the government’s 65% stake in Ljubija to Israeli Investment Group, while 8 abstained. ArcelorMittal had earlier threatened it would seek international arbitration if the sale goes ahead. According to ArcelorMittal, if the mine is sold to the Israeli investor, all of its employees in Bosnia will be faced with negative consequences as iron ore supplies may become too costly.

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