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Ellen admits economic stress

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleafhas disclosed here that the Liberian economy faces serious stress as a result of global prices on the country’s major exports – iron ore and rubber.

On Tuesday, 18 August the Liberian Chief Executive formally commissioned the Bea Mountain Mining Corporation’s New Liberty Gold Mine in Grand Cape Mount County, Western Liberia, saying the project comes as government tries to “rebuild confidence after the deadly stages of the Ebola virus disease.”

“Everyone knows that as result of global prices on major exports – iron ore and rubber – the Liberian economy is facing some stress. It also comes at a time when we’re trying to rebuild confidence after the devastation of the Ebola virus disease,” she said.

President Sirleaf said the fact that the mines today are showcasing their progress after the Ebola crisis seems to her a vote of confidence to all – in country and out of country – that indeed operations can proceed. About a year ago, the Liberian leader recalled she visited the mine and several things impressed her, citing the management’s relationship with workers and communities where they operate, kindness and what they intended to achieve and what it takes to achieve those objectives, among others.

President Sirleaf emphasized that she was “very pleased” with the results, progress, success and cooperation the company has with the government and communities and all of those it has worked with. She said it gives her a strong feeling that the project would be a success and will not face what is being faced in so many other places.

But the Liberian leader said that did not mean that the people there don’t have grievances, adding that after her arrival in the county, she heard one or two grievances. Instead, she noted what it meant was that the company is able to listen to those grievances and to find means to address them and make sure that cooperation follow for the operation to succeed.

“So I want to commend all of you … Today we see the result of that vision, of that cooperation and coordination; some of which comes from many of you in this room. The bankers, who are here, our officials, who have worked, the consultants and more importantly yourselves – your strong management that is able to carry on,” she noted.

Liberia’s Lands, Mines and Energy Minister, Patrick Sendolo had earlier said the project was a testament of what is possible when the government and investors work together based on common interest and shared commitment.

Mr. Sendolo said with confidence that “we will commission another gold mine” … hopefully by January, adding that the government is serious and committed to investors. He however credited the achievement of the industrial gold mine project to President Sirleaf’s leadership, unflinching support and guidance that she gave to make sure that such project comes to reality.

New Liberty Gold Mine CEO, David Reading,said the company invested US$250 million secured from a South African Bank. With the commissioning of Liberty Gold Mine, Mr. Reading said Liberia is now among gold producing countries today, though he complained of low prices on the global market. By Winston W. Parley – Editing by Jonathan Browne

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