GVL mini mill in Tarjuowon
VP Boakai tours the facility
It was a joyous and colorful day for citizens of Tarjuowon District and the entire Sinoe County as one of Liberia’s biggest private sector employers, Golden Veroleum Liberia on 19 April 2016 dedicated a mini mill in the district, situated in Southeast Liberia with Vice President Joseph Boakai gracing the occasion as key note speaker.
The occasion brought together youth, elders, women, traditional leaders, District and county authorities, the Sinoe legislative caucus, GVL senior management and investors, Butaw Welfare Development Association, Butaw District authorities, GVL’s general workforce and several officials of government. During the ceremony, more than 150 gallons and 30 drums of first run makino oil labeled ‘Sinoe’s own GVL first palm oil from the fertile soil of Sinoe communities’ produced from the mini mill were distributed to community members, government officials and other attendees.
Giving an over view of GVL operations, David Rothschild, one of GVL’s Managing Directors, said the project is a dream come through for Golden Veroleum Liberia, adding that oil palm which has its origin in West Africa is being brought home through large scale investment and with huge benefits for Liberia. “In 2009 GVL started exploring opportunities to operate in Liberia with the goal of helping the Liberian government to reduce poverty through the provision of jobs, community development, education and health. Today we are celebrating a very important milestone for the company, the communities who have allowed us to develop their lands for oil palm, and the country. It is a joy for us to celebrate with the government and our partner communities as we dedicate our mill,” said Rothschild.
He says a similar project will be replicated in Grand Kru County also in the Southeast, stating that today is the mini mill; in 2017 GVL will be commissioning its main mill, which is 15 times larger than the mini mill and is currently under construction in Tarjuowon, Sinoe County.
He said, with the backing of their Indonesian investors, the mill project was constructed with the close support of GVL’s 7 Liberian engineers, who were sent to Indonesia for training in mill engineering for one year, adding “This was valuable experience for them. As their experience increases, they will play an increasingly important leadership role in the construction and operation of future mills.”
Mr. Rothschild disclosed that the mini mill was constructed after Vice President Joseph Boakai visited Indonesia and appealed for it, with the goal of not letting the palm spoil. “This all started after his appeal, and we are very happy to have him officially dedicate this project.
Delivering the keynote address at the program, Vice President Joseph Boakai extolled GVL for the investment so far, saying GVL’s operations in Liberia bring considerable benefits to southeast counties, especially Sinoe and Grand Kru. He thanked the people of Sinoe for the level of cooperation which led to the development of oil palm estates by GVL which are now helping to improve the livelihood of local communities.
Ambassador Boakai said that, notwithstanding all the difficulties faced in acquiring land, GVL remains committed to investing and staying in Liberia. For this he said, the Government of Liberia will do all in her power to protect the investment, noting that the dedication of the mill is a clear manifestation of GVL’s commitment toward improving the livelihoods of its host communities and the south eastern communities as a whole.
“I’m glad that something good has come out of the Liberian soil and Liberians have acquired skills they never had. I want to urge you the host communities to protect, work with and encourage GVL investment and you will surely benefit. You have to hold onto this company so that more jobs will be created, better houses will be built and everybody will see the benefits” he concluded.
Sinoe County’s Superintendent Thomas Romeo Quiah described the presence of GVL in the county as a blessing to its people, and the entire southeast of Liberia with the employment of thousands of Liberians and construction of bridges and other infrastructures in Tarjuowon and other parts of the county.
He used the occasion to thank the Sinoe Legislative Caucus and the people of Tarjuowon District for the level of cooperation toward GVL and the project. “This is one of the remarkable things we been looking for, GVL will not go, GVL will stay, the land will not go, the land will stay and we will jointly work together with GVL to develop and grow together.” Superintendent Quiah told the gathering.
Sinoe County Senator Milton Teahjay thanked President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph N. Boakai for their support and encouragement that led to GVL staying in Sinoe with all the ups and downs. He also thanked the people of Tarjuowon for the acceptance of GVL that has brought employment, infrastructural development and other social benefits to the community.
Senator Teahjay says he foresees a mini Indonesia in Sinoe County with the presence of Golden Veroleum Liberia in the next 10 years. “I saw what oil palm did in Indonesia and I am sure in the next 10 years, there will be a mini Indonesia in Sinoe” he concluded.
In separate remarks, the agriculture coordinator of Sinoe and Kulu Paramount Chief Johnny Brown praised GVL for the project. “We are sure more development will come in Tarjuowon and Sinoe as a whole with the presence of GVL. That is why when we have issues, we invite GVL to strengthen our relationship. We will continue to grow together with you,” he said.
.The project seeks to locally supply crude palm oil to the Liberian market for local consumption. The mini mill is built with the capability of processing 5 tons of fresh fruits bunches per hour. GVL’s main mill which is under construction in Tarjuowon is expected to be completed within 24 months. When completed, the main mill will process 80 tons per hour, with a bucking station also under construction at the Samuel Alfred Russ port of Greenville. GVL has trained at least 54 Sinoe citizens in the harvesting of fresh fruit bunches. The training benefited Liberian assistant managers, field conductors and division clerks in the county. It training seeks to develop expert supervisors from the local communities as harvesting continues. Golden Veroleum Liberia is the largest user of the Samuel Alfred Russ Port in Greenville, Sinoe County and the biggest private sector employer in the Southeast. At least 3,700 Liberians are currently in the employ of Golden Veroleum Liberia.-Press release