Liberia, Guinea Striking Mining Deal

Liberia’s Lands, Mines and Energy Minister, Mr. Patrick Sendolo and his Guinean counterpart Kerfalola Yansane have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at putting into motion modalities leading to the operations of West Africa Exploration (WAE).

The two Mining Ministers including the Ministers of Transport of Liberia and Guinea along with National Investment Commission(NIC) Chairman Mr. Michael Wotorson told a news conference yesterday that West Africa Exploration is a mining company that will be mining Iron Ore in Guinea and using Liberia’s railway and port and shipping same oversea.

The Ministers noted that the project will bring enormous economy and social benefits to Liberia and Guinea and at the same time foster regional integration.

Also speaking at the news conference, Mr. Chris Parry, Director General of West Africa Exploration indicated that the initial investment for the project is US$300m to be followed by an investment of a US$1B.

A release issued by West Africa Exploration yesterday also noted that barely four months after the landmark entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (M0U) between the Government of Liberia and Aim-listed Stock Exchange exploration company; Sable Mining Africa’s 80%-owned subsidiary West Africa Exploration SA (WAE) with the aim of developing infrastructure for its Nimba iron-ore project in south-east Guinea a high-profiled team from WAE is in Liberia to make a formal presentation to the Inter-Ministerial Concession Committee (IMCC).

WAE said the presentation constitutes a concrete further encapsulation and manifestation that would objectively enable the parties to conduct technical due diligence, third-party discussions and negotiations with a view to entering into a binding infrastructure development agreement relating to WAE’s development, use and operation of rail and port infrastructure in Liberia to export iron-ore products from the Mount Nimba project.

According to the release, Sable Mining/WAE noted the epoch-signing of the MoU as significant step for WAE, as the company anticipates the commencement of the production of low-cost, high-grade direct shipping ore at Nimba in 2015, which the WAE views as also a milestone that is thrust on a strategic Pan African-inspired vision that seeks to bolster strong socio-economic cooperation and integration between Liberia and Guinea in the Mano River Union basin.

The release noted that WAE is of the anticipation that given Liberia and Guinea’s long historic and cultural ties, it looks forward to working with the Government of Liberia to further stimulate a critical public-private partnership for the social and economic advancement of the two peoples and countries.

The release further said WAE is optimistic that it can be a vibrant partner to Liberia’s huge reconstruction and development aspirations once the final T’s and crossed  I’s carefully and mutually dotted that will evidently set in motion the development, use and operation of the relevant infrastructure in Liberia as soon as possible.

“Notably, WAE intends to benefit from an existing Bilateral Agreement between Liberia and Guinea that authorizes the transport of iron-ore from the Nimba project, in Guinea, through the port of Buchanan in Liberia. Already, the bilateral agreement has been implemented for projects involving companies in the area of the Nimba project, including the SMFG joint venture project, to promote economic growth, as these companies are less than 60 km from the rail line at Yekepa, Nimba County in southwestern Liberia,” the release said.

On October 7, 2013 the Government of the Republic of Guinea issued the export decree ostensibly authorizing the mining company to export iron-ore produced at its Nimba project through Liberia’s second largest Seaport in Buchanan.

The release said WAE anchors its new Pan African-styled economic frontier along the fringes community-incensed social development intervention and impact aimed at changing lives and making that key fundamental difference. WAE’s scope of operations extends into seven villages spanning over a population of 25,000 inhabitants.

“Through its Pan African driven socioeconomic partnership concept WAE, reckons strong collaboration with the Government of Liberia in the fight against poverty and stands as a towering partner in harnessing the prospects for prosperity, growth and development. Communities-led projects for improved livelihoods will inform WAE’s practical engagement for changing lives through sustainable employment opportunities,” the WAE release said.

Undoubtedly, the release pointed out that there will be benefits in terms of indirect taxes to the government and WAE will potentially be a driving force behind a top to bottom approach that will allow the company’s direct active engagement with host communities based on a culture methodology of local ownership for sustainable development.

It further said WAE believes as a matter of philosophy that there should be a consistent preserve of the Environment thereby ensuring its user-friendliness and intends to remain compliant within the confines of the Environmental Protection Laws of Liberia.

“Based on exceptional exemplary as necessary, WAE will vigorously undertake social development-centered projects as already manifested by the renovation of schools in its Guinea Project locales — the provision of incentives such as school buses for disadvantaged rural youngsters who are also future leaders. Ardent recognition of ecological preservation to enhance and add value to ecotourism shall remain a top priority for WAE. A key component of WAE’s agenda is the promotion of healthcare, sanitation, provision of safe-drinking water, etc.” the release concluded.