The Executive Director of the National Investment Commission (NIC), George Wisner, has disclosed a US$120 million investment in Sinoe County by Hummingbird Mining Company.
The signing Agreement will be officially held on July 9, 2015, in Greenville, the county’s capital city.
At the Ministry of Information regular press briefing yesterday, Mr. Wisner said the investment now by Hummingbird was cardinal due to the current drop in prices of many of Liberia’s major export commodities, including rubber and iron ore, which is ridiculously low on the world market.
According to him, Hummingbird will provide many social benefits to the people of Sinoe County including the establishment of a special fund to be managed by the Government of Liberia and the community. The company has embarked on the construction of a 75-mile road from the mining area to Greenville City. The road, when completed, is expected to be an “all weather road.”
“The company will also provide housing facilities for employees in the county; provide medical facilities for the employees as well and offer free primary and secondary education for residents of the mining area, apart from the annual social contribution,” Wisner disclosed.
He further stated that the company will also support the environmental unit, a department of the Tubman University (TU) in Maryland County through a special negotiation by the NIC as a means of addressing the huge capacity gap in the country relative to education.
“This company will support TU annually as a way of empowering it and contributing to the education sector of the country.”
Mr. Wisner said Liberians have to graduate from the level where students in the southeastern region can have access to higher education in their respective localities without the need to come to Monrovia.
He noted that government alone will not rebuild the educational sector, and as such, there is a need to provide support to the sector, adding that this will support students in the southeastern region to attain higher education.
Hummingbird’s gesture came in spite of the Ebola outbreak, and the recent situation in Sinoe where some workers of Golden Veroleum became aggrieved and went on the rampage.
It is indeed a hopeful sign, Mr. Wisner indicated, that despite these negative vibrations the NIC can announce that investors are coming to Liberia with such a huge investment.
He said negotiations with the county Legislative Caucus have been completed, but said the issue of security and the requisite atmosphere for the company to operate remain cardinal to maintaining the investment that would impact the lives of the people of the county.
“We have also negotiated that the corporate headquarters of Hummingbird be built in Sinoe as one of the ways to ensure tangible investment and development, because not all the companies will have their headquarters in Monrovia,” he stressed.
He further cautioned residents of Sinoe, to remain peaceful and avoid the issue of rioting, which has the propensity to discourage or prevent investments or investors from coming to Liberia.
Founded in late 2005, Hummingbird Resources is a West African gold explorer and developer (AIM:HUM), and since 2010 the company has significantly grown its initial resource from an initial 0.8Moz to 4.2Moz at its Dugbe 1 Project in Liberia, and with the acquisition of Gold Fields’ gold assets in Mali, Hummingbird is now a multi-project, near-term producer with a 6Moz gold resource and 5,000 km2 of exploration ground.
According to information from its website, Hummingbird’s strategy has always been to create a gold company that has a portfolio of assets encompassing exploration, development and production and the purchase of the Yanfolila Project marks a significant step towards fulfilling that ambition.
Gold Fields’ decision to accept Hummingbird shares as consideration for the acquisition underlines the potential of the Yanfolila Project, its portfolio in Liberia.
The Yanfolila Project provides Hummingbird with a fast, simple and low cost route to production, and the company expects to commence production by H1 2016 at an initial gold production rate of 100koz per annum.
Hummingbird has acquired an attractive and highly profitable project which can be brought into production within 24 months.
The project has excellent grade with low capex and opex, and has been acquired at an attractive valuation of $11 per oz of resource.
The company’s Dugbe 1 Project in Liberia remains a key focus and it published a positive PEA in April 2013. The company completed its Detailed Feasibility Study in 2014.
Dugbe 1 was the first mining project in Liberia to secure investment from the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, when in 2012 the IFC acquired 5.4 % of the company’s equity.