-Prez Weah tells SEMICA confab participants
President George Weah said for Liberia to reap the benefits of its natural resources that would transform the economy by bringing prosperity to the Liberian people, “We will need to partner with trustworthy international investors.”
President Weah made the remarks on Thursday, November 28, 2019, during the opening of SEMICA 2019 Liberia mining, energy, and exhibition conference held at a resort in Monrovia.
“It is a well-known fact that Liberia is a resource-rich country endowed with an abundance of mineral resources, which include gold, diamonds, bauxite, iron ore, uranium, and prospective reserves of oil and gas,” President Weah told the gathering.
The SEMICA Liberia 2019, is an international convention, and exhibition aimed at showcasing Liberia’s potential in mining, energy, and petroleum.
The 3-day event (November 28-30) brought together government officials, including Dr. Marc-Antoine Audet, president and chief executive officer of SAMA Resources; Sylvain Some, General Director of Mines and Geology, Ministry of Mines and Quarries, Burkina Faso; local and international partners, and representatives from the diplomatic corps.
“I have previously declared that Liberia is opened for business, especially for all of those that are willing to participate — on a fair, honest, and equitable basis — in the development of our resources, culminating in win-win partnerships that are respectful of the mutual interests of all parties involved,” the President said.
He continued: “This conference, therefore, will give you the opportunity to have a better appreciation of our available natural resources, and enable you to see the full potential in the mining, energy, and hydrocarbon sectors. I am hopeful that the interactions afforded you in this forum, between potential investors and the relevant officials of our Government will be fruitful and productive to our mutual benefit.”
The Minister of Mines and Energy, Gesler E. Murray, said the country has a rich endowment of mineral resources that need to be capitalized to create wealth, and grow a healthy macro-economy.
Murray said the World Bank Liberia Country Economist issued a report in October this year, which indicated that the mining sector grew by 7% compared to the non-mining sectors, such as agriculture and manufacturing, which declined by 3.4%.
“This signifies that the mining sector has the potential to be an engine of growth; a key strategy of our government to use the sector revenue to stimulate growth in agriculture, manufacturing hospitality, tourism, and fishery,” Mr. Murray said.
He said since the sitting of the Weah-led Administration in January of 2018, the Ministry of Mines and Energy along with other stakeholder institutions has exerted efforts to reopen derelict iron ore mines, as well as bring into operations new ones.
Mr. Murray said falling prices of iron ore in the last several years in the global commodities market were invariably linked to accelerated developments of iron ore projects.
He said the forecast by some analysts that global iron ore production will grow 0.9% annually until 2028, offers a glimmer of hope for the Liberian iron ore industry.
“This is also promising news for the Euronimba and other mining projects in nearby Guinea that are seeking to transship and export mining produces using Liberian rail and port facilities. To this effect, the governments of Guinea and Liberia signed an implementation agreement in October this year for the shared-use of resources and infrastructure between the countries,” said Murray.
Mr. Murray said Liberia is now shifting the paradigm by diversifying more into gold, diamonds and non-traditional minerals, such as coltan, lithium, graphite, bauxite, barite, phosphate, and base metals.
He said Liberia is looking forward to more exploration companies taking up grounds to assess the potentials of these minerals.