…. As Senate holds hearing on company’s Amended Mineral Development Agreement
The Senate Committee on Concession and Investment on Monday, August 28, held a public hearing to discuss the proposed amendment of the Bea Mountain concession. The concession is set to expire in three years, and the company is seeking an extension of its operations in Liberia.
Under the new agreement, the company intends to make an additional investment of US$520 million. However, to proceed with this investment, they require an amended contract due to the three years remaining on the existing Mineral Development Agreement (MDA).
Furthermore, the new agreement outlines the employment of an additional four thousand Liberians and an increase in the number of Liberians in senior managerial positions. In the current amendment, the company has proposed additional areas for exploration.
Gracing the Monday hearing to provide reasons why the Senate should either approve or amend the concession agreement were Minister of Justice Frank Musah Dean, Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah, Labour Minister Charles Gibson, Mines and Energy Minister Gesler Murray, as well as the Chairman of the National Investment Commission, Molewuleh Gray.
Minister Murray said given the expected job creation and financial benefits, there is a strong economic justification for amending this agreement, noting that the company has been operating in the country since 2013, with a current production area spanning 537 square kilometers.
Senate Returns for Special Session
The Liberian Senate recently commenced a two-week special session to deliberate on matters of national concern. This special session is in accordance with Article 32(b) of the 1986 Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, which empowers the President to extend a regular session or call a special session to address matters of national emergency and concern.
During the special session, President Pro-Tempore Albert T. Chie outlined several unresolved issues that will be addressed. These include the continuation of the debate on the amended Public Health Law, election-related matters, attracting public sector investment, and the confirmation process for nominated Commissioners of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, among others.
Pro-tempore Chie emphasized that the debate on the amended Public Health Law covers a range of contemporary healthcare issues in Liberian society. These include lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as bio-security, bio-safety, occupational health, provisions for infants and young children, traditional alternative medicines, emergency treatment, and more.
Additionally, Pro-Tempore Chie expressed concerns about interference in the legislative process and called for a transparent and informed discussion on the proposed new Public Health Law.
The National Elections Commission will also be called upon to provide information about its readiness for the Legislative and Presidential Elections scheduled for October 10, 2023, with a focus on election security.
Other items on the agenda include the ratification of an amended Bea Mountain Mineral Development Agreement, the continuation of the confirmation process for nominated Commissioners of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, and a briefing from the Ministry of Public Works regarding the mandate to improve the two primary south-eastern road corridors within 30 days, as well as the passage of the free tuition Act, among other issues.