Liberia, Guinean company sign $1.3bn deal

The National Investment Commission of Liberia along with the inter-Ministerial Concession Committee (IMCC) will today, Friday, January 23, 2015 sign a 25-year Infrastructure Development Agreement with the West Africa Exploration SA (WAE) Sable Mining for the transshipment of Guinean-based ore through Liberia.

The deal is valued US$1.3 Billion, according to the Chairman of the National Investment Commission, George Gyude Wisner.

Mr. Wisner said, the agreement is important because it affirms the Mano River Union (MRU) accord and ECOWAS Conventions which aim to expand economic development through enhanced regional cooperation and cross border trade.

He said the deal also marks the historic moment of regional cooperation which dates as far back as July 14, 1973, when former Presidents William R. Tolbert, Jr. of Liberia and Ahmed Sekou Toure of Guinea, signed a protocol that paved the way for transshipment of minerals between both countries.

Addressing the Ministry of Information’s daily press briefing Thursday in Monrovia, Chairman Wisner read the agreement letter, which says that the total investment for the agreement is US$1.3Billion.

He said the West Africa Exploration /Sable Mining is to invest US$300 Million in the first five years, and US$1Billion in the remaining years of operation after the agreement is consummated by the Liberian Legislature.

Under the agreement, WAE/SA is to begin operations in 2015 and the company will rehabilitate and expand the existing rail corridor from Yekapa, in Nimba County to the Port of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County in keeping with the use of Third Party Access rights between the Liberian government and ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML). The company will construct a new railway line from Guinea via Tokadeh to Yekapa to link with the existing railway in Yekapa.

Meanwhile, the company will pay a signature fee of US$250,000 following the ratification and publication of the agreement into handbill, and make an annual contribution of not less than US$2.5Million on its first anniversary besides an annual concession fee of US$1.5 to 5 Million for the transshipment of iron ore, ranging from zero million/ton to 10M/ton per annual and all other taxes and duties discussed in fiscal agreement.

The Government of Liberia has also ensured that the IDA socially obligates the West Africa Exploration SA to, give first priority to qualified Liberians in terms of employment, help improve access to health and education, give preference to Liberian suppliers in terms of procurement and obeying the Laws of Liberia.

Chairman Wisner stressed that the Mission of the NIC is to promote commercial interest by enabling an advantageous business environment, attracting and securing quality investors and businesses, retaining quality investors and businesses, increasing market access for Liberian goods and services in providing effective business and investors’ support to help investors do successful business here.

By Rewina Juduh

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