THE DISCOVERY OF THE POOR BONE

Until the year 1951 Latex was the only important export good Liberia had. Known to many are its vast Firestone Rupper Plantation, which also helped develop local enterprises through its infrastructure. A change in this situation evolved, when shortly after the Second World War magnetometric over-flights were conducted all over Liberia and the results of the latter lead to the expectation of some fast iron ore deposits.
Some more concentrated surveying into those ore-deposits lead to the first iron ore mine in Bomi Hills, where production began in 1951. Ten years later, the first ore from Mano River was loaded in Monrovia´s harbour. Both ore companies used the railroad that had been build by the Bomi Hills Mine and the same pier at the harbour.
Due to the results of the magnetometric over-flights prospecting was also concentrated on the Bong Range - where geologists had allready found iron ore in 1934 - and on the Putu Range, Grand Gedeh County. The surveying of the Bong Range area was stopped quite early, as there were no rich ore deposits found.
While the survey of the Putu Range was still in progress, another geologist working for LAMCO discovered fast ore deposits of exceptional high grade in the Nimba mountain range. His famous telegram to his employers "I found a world of iron" immediatly stopped the surveying of the Puti Range and concentrated all exploration work on the Nimba Mountains. It took just until 1963, when the first train with iron ore could travel over the newly build 300km long railroad connection to the coast, where the ore could be shipped in the newly constructed harbour of Bucchanan. In 1964, Liberia became the most important ore exporting country in Africa, with 12 million tonnes.

To be continued...


© Robert W. Kranz