The 16-member business delegation from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which preceded the arrival of that country’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, has expressed interest in investing in some of Liberia’s prime national assets, including the nation’s only remaining Iron Ore reserves, Wologisi, the Roberts International Airport (RIA) as well as in the energy sector.
The delegation, which is includes of members of various multilateral companies with global recognition, expressed their respective interests in investing in the country when they paid a courtesy called on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her Foreign Ministry office in Monrovia over the weekend.
Vice President of Sinotech Minerals, He Zhijun, upon introducing himself to President Sirleaf, noted that his company wants to invest in the Wologisi Mountain. Mr. Zhijun said his company, which is also involved in engineering work, is ranked in the top three mining companies in the world. He also expressed interest in the rehabilitation of the RIA.
He told the President that if given the opportunity, Sinotech Minerals will construct a modern airport as they have done in other countries and are currently doing in Sierra Leone.
He said his company has the expertise, capability and the financial resources to undertake these investments and asked President Sirleaf for her blessings to consider his company.
Established in 2004, Sinotech Minerals Exploration Co., Ltd (Sinotech) was officially designated as China’s high technology enterprise. With a registered capital of 362.304 million Chinese Yuan (CNY) (US$58.369 million), its first largest shareholder is the Beijing Institute of Geology for Mineral Resources (BIGM).
Sinotech is mainly engaged in businesses on the upper stream of the mining industry. The company is now well established and reputed in three major business fields: geological service, mineral exploration and mining development. Currently Sinotech owns more than one hundred properties all over the world, and has developed over twenty subsidiary investing companies.
Sinotech Minerals is the second company after Jindal Steel of India, to express interest in exploring the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County.
President Sirleaf, in response, said, “I know over the years China has expressed interest in the Wologisi Mountain and I hope you’ve been talking with the Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy. Wologisi is the last major iron ore asset we have now and so we all are trying to be careful how we handle it.”
She told members of the delegation, who are desirous in investing, to be time conscious. “Whatever you do, whatever we agreed to partner in we want it done fast to quality [and] international standard no doubt, to meet all of the conditionality and the arrangement; yes we have to do all of that but we want you to do it fast.”
The President also wants China Union to be supported in its plan to do the processing of Iron Ore, “China Union which is operating in Liberia here requires support from the Government of Liberia and the Government of China to enable China Union to carry out the big project they have about processing the iron ore in our country.”
She stated, “If China can really deliver that for us, by processing iron ore here, you will make a big difference and you will be truly a star partner in Liberia, if you can make that happen and again we need to know what we need to do to work together to support China Union in that project,” President said.
Liberia’s Ambassador to China, Mckinley Thomas said the presence of the Chinese delegation in Liberia is a manifestation of the close relationship that exists between Liberia and the PRC.
He said the pronouncement by the Chinese President, Xi Jinping of “win-win” partnership with Africa in general and Liberia in particular is further manifested by the presence of this delegation. “They have come to Liberia to say to the Government and people of Liberia that China is serious about “win-win cooperation.”
Also speaking, Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Zhang Yue said the visit of the Chinese delegation, the largest in almost a decade, comes on the heels of a high-level Liberian ministerial delegation visit to China recently.
The delegation, dubbed the “2015 Sino-Liberia Win-Win Visit Delegation” included the Vice President of Blue Seafronts Group, Mr. Peng; General Manager China Railway Material, Li Shu; Vice President of Sinotech Minerals,
He Zhijun; Engineer, Power China, Mei Chuansheng; and Vice President of Hydro China, Zhang Nianmu.
The Chinese have undertaken some major infrastructure investments in the country, which include the University of Liberia Fendell Campus, Jackson F. Doe referral hospital in Nimba County, the construction of the Monrovia Vocational Training Center and many more.