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What is behind the multinational Solway?

  • Solway Investment Group is a private multinational mining company that mainly operates nickel and is based in Switzerland, one of the most important in the world. The website indicates that it has projects in Guatemala, Ukraine, Macedonia and Indonesia, and that in 2021 it had assets of $1.450 million.
Aleksandr Bronstein-ek sortu zuen Solway Investment Group. Argazkia: Wikipedia / Estonian Foreign Ministry CC BY SA
Aleksandr Bronstein-ek sortu zuen Solway Investment Group. Argazkia: Wikipedia / Estonian Foreign Ministry CC BY SA

Having regard to the corporate map of the website of the multinational Solway, under the company registered in Malta Solway Holding LTD, first line Solway Investment Group, in Switzerland, and then the following subsidiary companies: Macedonian Busim Dooel Radovish; Ukrainan Pobuzhsky Ferronikel Plant; Guatemalan Niquel Processing Company of Izabal S.A. and Guatemalan Company of Niquel S.A.; Argentina Minera San Jorge; Democratic Republic of Conglomé in Donglomeo.

In relation to the latter Russian company, when the war broke out in Ukraine, on 3 March 2022 Solway announced by a note that it was leaving all the projects it had in that country, including the existing exploitation on the island of Urup, in the Kuril archipelago, near Japan.

But Solway's network is much more complex. According to the Mining Secrets study, at least 23 companies would be related to Solway and registered in countries that have often been considered tax havens, such as: Cyprus, Saint Vicent and Grenadines, British Virgin Islands…

The study showed that between 2007 and 2015 at least $1.9 billion have been transferred to these companies through the branches of the Swedish and Danish banks Swedbank and Danske Bank in Estonia: “Much of this came from Russia and Eastern Europe to fictitious businesses, one of the big money laundering scandals,” says the OCCRP association that has participated in the investigation, a global network of journalists to report and investigate corruption and organised crime.

According to the researchers, these companies had corporate ties with Solway, including senior officials and executives, including the founder of the multinational, Aleksandr Bronstein, and his son Dan Bronstein, current chairman of Solway’s board of directors.

Aleksandr Bronstein and Paradise Papers

Aleksandr Bronstein was born in Leningrad, but moved with his family to Estonia, “fleeing from anti-Semitism,” according to his English public biography of Wikipedia. According to this, it would be directly related to the Israeli lobbies and has promoted various initiatives with money. In the 1980s he held key public positions in the field of metallurgy in Estonia, and later created Solway Investment Group, the free encyclopedia says. Its name appears in the Paradise Papers filtration of 2017 linked to the DTT Solway Holding, which we have found in the database of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism, a filtration that led to the influx of 120,000 companies and individuals with investments in tax havens.

For many media, institutions and governments, behind Solway there are Russian capitals and investors, although the multinational has repeatedly denied it.

For many media, institutions and governments, behind Solway there are Russian capitals and investors, although the multinational has repeatedly denied it.

Beginning in the mid-1990s, Solway began buying plants for aluminum, rare earth and steel production in Volgograd and Urales in Russia, but then sold them. He entered the nickel business in 2003 and is currently one of the largest extractors in the world of this mineral. It also has gold and copper extraction projects.

Nickel is extracted by extraction and causes great pollution in this process, which has already been announced in some places that is already being tested with “green nickel”, another example of greenwashing. This material is absolutely necessary for electric car batteries and their extraction is spreading all over the world.

Solway states that it currently has a production capacity of 45,000 tonnes of nickel per year. The majority, about 70%, is obtained in the mine of the Guatemalan people of El Estor. As has been made public through the Mining Secrets study, the multinational has received serious accusations for alleged actions against the citizens and the environment of the Guatemalan area of Izabal.

US Solway nickel hungry

In November 2022, the Treasury Department of the EE.UU. reported the imposition of a sanction on the Russian Dmitry Kudryakov and the bielouso Iryna Litviniu, as well as on the Russian companies Niquel Guatemalan Company (CGN), which operate as alleged corruptions of the NiCocococopago Minatemala Company, and Mayestiguel.

According to Newsweek, a Canadian company is about to buy Guatemalan companies from Solway, with the help of the US government (...) The weekly has placed the entire operation within the US competition with China to get global reserves of rare earth and minerals

Kudyakov and Litviniuke have for many years held management positions in the CGN and ProNiCo companies, as Solway has acknowledged, and have “suspended” their use as a result of these penalties. But the multinational denies its relationship with Mayaniquel and reiterates that it has nothing to do with the figures of the Russian Government.

All this may have to do with an exclusive given recently by the weekly Newsweek. The US media published last April 6 the announcement that a Canadian company is about to buy Guatemalan companies from Solway, with the support of the US government.

The Central America Nickel Corporation (CAN), based in Montreal, would like to purchase the Fénix project of Guatemala in Solway. The Canadian company, in cooperation with a diplomat from the American embassy in Guatemala, wants to take the opportunity to obtain cheaper Solway’s assets punished by the US treasury.

The objective would be to transfer these assets acquired in CAN to the US company America Rare Earth Sources Inc. Apparently, Guatemalan nickel would be fully geared towards meeting the demands of electric car batteries in the United States.

Newsweek has placed the entire operation in US competition with China to secure global rare earth and mineral reserves. Therefore, the mines of the multinational Solway would be an important piece in the new cold war caused by the energy crisis.

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