Southeastern Liberia is set to experience its most serious development undertaking in the history of the region.
Lands Mines and Energy Minister Patrick Sendolo, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer early Monday morning, revealed that to begin with, the electrical lines are now being tested for Harper and Pleebo in Maryland County to receive electricity from La Cote d’Ivoire. It is only a matter of time, probably weeks, before the Maryland’s two principal cities will be fully electrified.
The Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (LME) and the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), in collaboration with the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP), are also working expeditiously to extend the power lines on to Fish Town, the capital of River Gee County.
As for Grand Gedeh County, Minister Sendolo says the lines have already been constructerd and are now being run from La Cote d’Ivoire to the bordering Toe Town in the county’s northeastern tip. The lines will then travel through Zwedru and on to Tappita in Nimba County, on through the rest of the Mah-Dan country, then enter Bong County and onward to Lofa County.
Zwedru-Greenville Paved Highway
There were four other highly significant revelations which Minister Sendolo shared with the Daily Observer in yesterday’s interview. First, he said the Putu Iron Ore Mines are about to receive the license to commence mining and exporting iron ore from that mountain in 2016.
In addition, said the LME Minister, because of the government’s insistence, as part of the agreement with Putu Mines, the company is to build a paved highway from Zwedru, capital of Grand Gedeh County, to Greenville, Sinoe County. This will be a major development undertaking, that will make the entire southeastern region accessible not only to southeasterners, but to people from all over Liberia, who will be exposed to the beauties of that region, its many rainforests and especially the ecological gem of the southeast, the Sapo National Forest.
The road will be a major spark for touristic development in Liberia’s vast interior. It will also be good for business, and for healthcare delivery.
According to Minister Sendolo, Putu Mines have already commenced the feasibility and design for the paved road, and the project should be underway within a year.
The next major industrial development undertaking in the southeast is that the Hummingbird Gold Mining Company will commence industrial mining beginning in Grand Gedeh County.
Most of the gold mining in the country has so far consisted of “alluvial mining,” Minister Sendolo said. This is mining in the rivers using pans. Miners dig into the water, extract the mud and shake the pans until the gold is found. Hummingbird’s industrial mining is scheduled to commence within a year and promises to be a major industrial undertaking, using heavy industrial equipment that will penetrate the rocks to get the gold. Many jobs could be created by this undertaking.
Finally, the LME Minister told the Daily Observer that Golden Veroleum, one of the world’s leading palm oil producing companies, is about to come into production in Sinoe County, where it is operating.
This company is on record as saying they are not here simply to produce palm oil, but to refine the commodity into finished and semi-finished products for local consumption and export.
The company started out with a series of conflicts with the local people, who complained that it had infiltrated their farmland and sacred areas. But of late the company has considerably improved its public relations, and has now won the almost unanimous consent of the people to continue GV’s operations.