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Chieftain Cosser eyes African ore

Chieftain Cosser eyes African ore

THE untapped iron ore riches of Sierra Leone have attracted the attention of Australian pay-TV pioneer and all-round entrepreneur Steve Cosser (in photo). And he reckons he has landed a big one in the west African nation, known more for its strife and abject poverty than its potential mineral wealth.

The now London-based Mr Cosser told BusinessDay his privately held Africa Inc is to acquire a 3-billion-tonne high-grade coastal iron ore deposit near the town of Bagla Hills in eastern Sierra Leone.

”It’s the biggest [single] iron deposit in the world. Iron ore is the most in-demand mineral in the world and China is eating it up like you wouldn’t believe,” enthused Mr Cosser, an admitted occasional dabbler in resource opportunities.

”I have bought 100 per cent of it. I have also been made chieftain of Bagla Hills,” he said. ”The paramount chief [of one of Sierra Leone’s four kingdoms] has awarded me citizenship of Bagla Hills and I’ve agreed to take care of the poorest city in the poorest country in the world.”

Mr Cosser said the iron ore deposit was currently the subject of a conservation order. ”But obviously they are going to lift it because of the wealth that can come into the country would be enormous,” he said.

The consideration in the deal is unusual. ”I’ve said I’ll fix this place up and I’ll do it quickly whether they lift [the conservation order] or not,” Mr Cosser said.

He said the government had been offered all sorts of deals for development rights to the iron ore deposit and all sorts of people had claimed ownership at various stages. Mr Cosser’s deal is with a local man, Jacob Barnett. ”The idea is to turn [Bagla Hills] into the gleaming diamond of Africa,” Mr Cosser said.

The Cyprus-registered Africa Inc is 100 per cent owned by Mr Cosser. A statement to be released today quotes Mr Barnett as saying that Africa Inc’s plans for ”my people made [it] head and shoulders above any other contender for the project”.

The plan is to list Africa Inc in New York. ”Will Cosser make money out of it? Of course he will. He always does,” said London-born, Brisbane-raised Mr Cosser.

His Australian media career began aged 17 when he became the youngest staff announcer with the ABC. He made a small fortune, reportedly $70 million, from the first pay-TV network in Australia, Australis, in the early 1990s.

Barry Fitzgerald, The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

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  • Your Article is very soul searching and pertinent.I can see that you are also willing to serve my nation as a consultant.I am just wondering how much info you have on this transaction, or what you really take sierra Leoneans for, for us to sit down and watch our nation being pillaged by non sierra Leoneans . Please beware that our eyes are wide open on transactions that have to do with our nation.I would advice you try endeavour to know what kind of contract this company Africa Inc holds, before we all jump to conclusions that would put a great possibility of not only job creation but as Mr cosser claims “bring development to a poor community where a pregnant woman about to give birth is driven on a motor cycle to neighboring Liberia for medical aid”
    AS a Sierra Leonean my self we ardently follow up this new development WITH KEEN INTEREST ,to the benifit of our people in SL.We are with you my Bro.
    Dr M Conteh

    23rd April 2010
  • Why is Sierra Leone doing business with a company that is wolf (Australian white supremacist inc) in sheep’s (Africa inc) clothing?
    Why is Sierra Leone doing business with a company that is registered in the tax haven of Cyprus, where its accounts cannot be monitored? Where its money can be spirited away secretly? Why is it not based in Sierra Leone?
    Why is Sierra Leone allowing a man who setup a paytv and made money. How hard is it to setup the 1st paytv and make money when your shareholders are the Australian government? Why do they allow this agent of the Australian government to take control of it’s 3bnt high-grade coastal iron ore deposit near the town of Bagla Hills?
    Why? When Australia’s and Canada’s foreign policy is to buy and sell Africa’s resources as quickly as possible, keep their resources in reserve, create a monopoly on the world’s supply of those resources, then charge 100x what they paid for Africa’s resources.
    Sierra Leone will never ever be able to afford to buy these resources, to industrialise e.g. consider the stupid and corrupt Ghanaians who sold 98% of their gold mines at a low price and have since lost at least $500bn over the past 50 years.
    Why is Sierra Leone doing business with a company that is 100% owned by 1 man? It is impossible for one man to control mines elsewhere because the price is too high. One man can only get a low price through corruption.
    Why has it sold 100% of its iron ore deposit? This policy only occurs in Africa, and that is why they are still poor. Most African countries have learnt the lessons but Sierra Leone has not just prostituted its resources, but it also hurting the revenues of its wiser African countries.
    Mr Crosser is lying when he says ‘the wealth that can come into the country would be enormous.’ His company will remove the ore from Sierra Leone as fast as possible. the government will be left with a town mimicking what is in the west- that the Chinese could build for $100M but will cost $2bn. Mr crosser will ensure the all the money he spends to develop Bagla hills, is paid to Australian designers, Australian builders, Australian suppliers of materials and machines and Australian workers. The foolish Sierra Leoneans will get no transfer of technology or skills, their unemployment will remain the same, some officials will hide their bribes in Australian investment banks overseas. Sierra Leone will have nothing to sell and nobody will buy anything. they will not be able to afford to maintain the products they buy which will cost 4x as much to maintain. T
    he people will become consumers of foreign products, junk food and
    entertainment, drugs, alcohol and prostitution. Why? Because without iron ore they can’t make steel, without steel they can’t make products to sell. Where will Sierra Leone make money from? What market? What niche will they dominate in the world? They have sold the only niche they had. God gave them a gift and like stupid Esau they sold it to fill their stomachs. If they think that when they are starving the Australians will give them a drop of water, they should take a close look at how the Australians treat the aborigines. Look at the contempt the Europeans have for Greece’s stupidity, double it, and that is the contempt Europe will have for Sierra Leone’s stupidity. They will use corruption as an excuse to avoid helping you when you suffer the consequences.
    This is what Sierra Leone should have done.
    1. setup a national company that mines iron ore, makes steel, and makes steel products. this company will on 100% of the rights to all iron ore mines in Sierra Leone. The country will own 50% of the shares of the company; the workers will own 10% and 40% will available to buy.
    2. It will sell 4% each year for the next 10 year to foreign investors
    3. When a mine is found in Sierra Leone, the company will own 100% of the mine. It will sell a 40% share of the rights to mine the mine to foreign companies that want to form a joint venture. The joint venture partners selected will have the highest (no. of black African employees, median wage, transfer of technology including the building of mills to make stainless steel in Sierra Leone, buying materials & equipment manufactured in Sierra Leone)
    4. Form a cartel (like the West African nations did for chocolate) to control the price of iron ore and steel from Africa. Copy the contract model throughout Africa. Work together to control the global irone ore and steel markets. e.g. Australia and Canada control the mineral markets. China is the biggest buyer. if African countries form a 50:50 joint venture with the Chinese companies who will move their steel mills & steel product factories to Africa. China can claim it has all the ore it needs and stop buying, the price of the ore will plummet, China can then buy up a huge amount of Australia’s ore at a low price. China will not touch Africa’s ore, when Australia and Canada run out, the price of Africa’s ore will be 100x. Africa will win the great game.
    It’s not too late, the future of Sierra Leone and the livelihood of your children is at stake. You must abolish the contracts and start afresh, putting the national interests 1st.
    I would like a job as a mining contract negotiator – helping the Sierra Leone government to get the best deals possible from foreign companies. I know all their tricks, they cannot bully, con, bribe or trick me.
    China’s big fear is that they will have to depend on materials from Australia or the big European countries who will form a cartel to force them to pay a huge price. Africa needs to offer to side with china in return for china sharing half its returns, half its jobs, and half its company’s shareholdings with Africans.
    China has to work side by side with Africans at every level, they cannot come in do all the work and leave. It cannot have a one night stand with Africa it has to put a ring on Africa’s finger. The Chinese need to treat Africans s their equals, and give them that respect and Africa must demand respect.
    I would like a job as a mining contract negotiator – helping the Sierra Leone government to get the best deals possible from foreign companies. I know all their tricks, they cannot bully, con, bribe or trick me.
    Mr F. Kwami
    5 Chelmsford Rd., Leytonstone, London E11 1BT
    0044 208 556 5864

    15th April 2010

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