The Executive branch of Government is seeking the ratification by the National Legislature of a Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) between the Government of Liberia and Hummingbird Resources-Liberia, Incorporated.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday received the proposed bill which looks to renewing Hummingbird’s mineral exploration deal that ended in 2013, and fresh negotiations with the government to continue operations faded in recent months.
President George Weah’s communication to House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, dated February 20, notes that the initial capital expenditure of the company is estimated at US$250 million and the government will retain 10 percent non-dilution equity in the investment.
Basically, according to the communication, ratifying such deal is significant to the government’s continued stride to fulfill the national anti-poverty development framework, the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), due to the employment and economic opportunities that it promises.
Hummingbird Resources Inc., is a UK-based mining company in the gold extraction business and, in Liberia, its primary concession area is in Sinoe, but it will also operate in other counties of the Southeast, including Maryland, Grand Kru and River Gee, estimated to have over four million ounces of gold.
When passed by the lower House, then the Senate – as per legislative tradition – would have to concur with the document before it can be signed into law by the President.
The communication to the House points out that the concession will offer opportunities to provide direct job openings to Liberians and revenue for the government, as well as contribute to strategies that intend to link the “historically economically” deprived south-eastern region to the rest of the country.
Under the agreement, it is expected that at least 180 Liberians will be employed in technical and other skilled positions to include finance and administrative departments, while others will serve as supervisors.
The document to the House was read in Plenary and forwarded to the committees on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning, and Investment and Concession, to report to the body within a period of two weeks.
In a related development, President George Manneh Weah has resubmitted to the National Legislature for ratification the Concession Agreement between the Government of Liberia and the Nimba Rubber Incorporated (NRI).
The agreement when approved will enable NRI to manage the Cocopa Rubber Plantation in Nimba County for 30 years and will also settle the long-running uncertainty of the management of the plantation and bring relief to the plantation’s employees.
Recently, this Agreement along with others was recalled by President Weah for renegotiation with the National Investment Commission to meet basic legal requirements and economic benefits.
President Weah said in a communication to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, that the renegotiation process was completed and a new agreement was signed on October 5, 2018.
He added that NRI plans to make a total investment of US$9.8 million during the first 15 years to fund the cost of reconditioning camp houses for the workers and purchase of earthworks equipment to recondition 80 miles of internal plantation roads.
Furthermore, the Liberian leader said, the NRI will renovate and upgrade the current medical and educational facilities, in addition to the construction of new ones as well as clean up the productive portion of the farm and procure farm inputs to commence tapping.
Meanwhile, the House has forwarded the agreement to its committees on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to report to the body in two weeks.
In a related development, the Legislature has also received for ratification an “Investment Incentive Agreement between the Government of Liberia and Golden SIFCA.”
President Weah informed the body that as per the agreement, the investor shall develop, construct and operate a Palm Oil Mill with an initial capacity of 40 tons per hour by the end of 2019 to be expanded to an additional 40 tons per hour during the 28-year term agreement.
He said that Golden SIFCA is a Liberian registered corporation with offices in Pleebo City, Maryland County, noting that it represents a joint venture investment equally held by the Maryland Oil Palm Plantation (MOPP) and Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL).
According to the Liberian Chief Executive, MOPP operates under an existing concession agreement in Maryland County concession area of 8,800 hectares while GVL operates under an existing concession agreement in Sinoe County, signed in September 2010, to plant and process palm oil within a listed concession area of 220,000 hectares.