22 February 2011

Liberia: Brazilian Firm to Restore Mt. Coffey Hydro Plant,

The Liberian Government is exploring a multi-million dollar deal that will see a Brazilian company restore the Mount Coffey Hydro Plant, thereby restoring electricity to a huge portion of the country, if discussions are fruitfully finalized.

The Brazilian Company BDG-Vale BFGR Liberia Ltd. (Vale for short) has "agreed in principle" to revamp the hydro plant, but the agreement has not been finalized duet to some "sticky point" which are "legal in nature" Cabinet Director Dr. Mono Rogers disclosed Monday.

The discussion between the Company and the Liberian Government is based on the fact that the construction company is poised to undertake a US$1.5 billion project to link the Port of Buchanan (in the capital of Grand Bassa County, Liberia) with the Republic of Guinea, to easily facilitate the export of iron ore and bauxite from the sisterly country to the outside world.

The Port of Buchanan is currently the second largest in Liberia, and is currently receiving lager ship than the Free Port of Monrovia, which is now under the controls of APM Terminals, for rehabilitation.

Reports are that the distance between the mining site and the Port of Guinea in the West Africa state is very far and would be extremely costly to venture into building a new road or a railway to connect the Port of Guinea.

Therefore, the Port of Buchanan, which is much closer to Guinea, has been deemed the best alternative, meaning iron ore and bauxite mined in the mineral rich nation would now be exported through the Liberian Port, after the proposed railway is built.

Addressing the Executive Mansion regular press briefing Monday, Dr. Rogers disclosed that Liberia would immensely benefit from the venture because the country's land would be used in the process.

In exchange of the land that will be used (inside Liberia) to build the railway, Dr. Rogers said the Company has "agreed in principle" to restore the country's highest pre-war electricity generating plant (which cost is estimated at US$200 million), build smaller roads and provide other social services.

"It is a good venture. This is the only concession that is not concentrating on our forest and mineral resources, but the land," Dr. Rogers said.

The Inter-Ministerial Concession Committee (IMCC), headed Minister of Justice (the IMCC is usually headed by the National Investment Commission (NIC), but due to the legal implications involved with the deal, the Minister of Justice is heading the discussion) currently discussion the agreement.

Dr. Rogers said it was agreed during last Friday's (Feb 18)cabinet meeting that the Ministry of Justice chairs the IMCC with respect to the Brazilian company's deal because it involves Liberia, Guinea and the company, and is more legal than just investment.

'I want to clarify here that the chair of the IMCC is still the NIC, and not the Ministry of Justice,' Dr. Rogers noted, clarifying a press release he issued earlier, indicating that the Chairmanship of the IMCC has been transferred from the NIC to the Ministry.

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