INTRODUCTION AND EARLY HISTORY

Bong Mining Company, Liberia / West-Africa Bong Mining Co. came on stream in late 1965 and died in May 1990, the direct result of the tragic and ridiculous Liberian civil war, which will be described later as it affected Bong Mining Co. The parent managing company in Germany in the beginning was Gewerkschaft Exploration of Düsseldorf. The name was later changed to Exploration und Bergbau GmbH, and herinafter will be referred to as E+B.
As the German steel industry rebuilt after WW II, it became increasingly evident that if it were to remain competitive, higher grade ores and/or concentrates had to be found to replace the generally low grade and difficult to concentrate domestic ores. It was a challenge that prompted E+B to look oversees for Iron ore. At the time E+B was jointly owned by five German steel companies. The property selected for development was in Liberia. A concession was obtained from the Liberian government for a period of 70 years. The German Liberian Mining Co., DELIMCO, was formed with the government participating in 50% of the profits in lieu of income taxes. The government also agreed to duty free import of equipment and supplies. The remaining 50% of DELIMCO was owned 75% by a consortium of German steel companies under the leadership of August Thyssen Hütte AG and 25% by the state-owned Italian steel company, Finsider SpA. DELIMCO, in turn, owned Bong Mining Co., which operated the facilities in Liberia with E+B providing management and consulting services.

EARLY HISTORY

The good old days The Bong range deposits, alow grade mixture of hematite and magnetic iron minerals, had been recognized as a potential iron ore source since about 1935. The deposits are located in the Salala District of Bong County, Liberia. The Bong Range is a hill chain about 22 miles long and the Bong concessions cover the southwest half. The mine is about 45 miles from the Roberts International Airport and 66 miles from Monrovia, the capital city. The mine is connected to the free port of Monrovia by company-owned standard gauge railroad 50 miles long. The mine is also connected to the Roberts Airport and Monrovia by fairly good all-weather roads.

At the eploration adit into the Bong ore body in November of 1959 In 1957, E+B undertook surface prospecting and ground magnetic surveys. Between 1958 and 1962, the start of construction of an extensive drilling program and other exploration work was undertaken. In addition to delineating tonnage and grade, a major objective was to classify ores as to the degree of weathering and the magnetic-hematite mix. This information had a Pilot plant, Othfresen, germany, 1961, 8 Humphreys spirals following grindning mills profound effect on the future blending and concentrating practices. Pilot plant work was done at Othfresen, Germany, on large samples. The grinding circuit compared rod mill vs. autogenous mill grinding with autogenous mills showing a clear advantage. Primary concentrationwas done in Humphreys spirals. Bong was to become among the first of the great autogenous grinding- Humphreys spiral plants in the world along with Carol Lake, Wabush and Quebec Cartier in Canada. Consulting services were provided by Kaiser Engineers of Oakland, California, to E+B which was in overall charge of the project. Design and a major part of the construction of the concentrator was provided by WEDAG of Bochum, Germany. Later Kaiser Engineers provided consulting services for the initial pellet plant. Later Philip B. Dettmer provided pellet plant consulting services. Mr. Dettmer now resides in Cathedral City, California. The concentrator was placed in service in B´February of 1965 and the first shipload of concentrates was unloaded to Rhine River barges at Rotterdam, Holland, in June of the same year.



© James V. Thomson and Wolfgang Jacobs