The launch has officially taken place in Monrovia of Launch of Liberian Entrepreneur Trust last night at the Krystal Ocean View Hotel.
At the launch the Liberian Entrepreneur Trust was issued 3,000,000 shares in Liberian Iron, a Liberian focused iron ore exploration company seeking tenure over Wologizi Range.
Representatives from Liberian Iron informed the attendees that the company made a formal application for Wologizi Range to the Liberian Government on 17 April 2013.
The Trust will invest in other sectors of the Liberian economy including agriculture, hydrocarbon and manufacturing. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was given credit for the inspiration of the Liberian Entrepreneur Trust by Dominic Marinelli, director of Liberian Iron and Terrain Capital and Mr. Sam Jackson, shareholder and consultant.
The inspiration was drawn from her autobiography in which she described one of Liberia's biggest challenges is to find approaches, policies and mechanisms whereby citizens can play an important role in the economy.
Speakers, including Fomba Trawally, Chairman of the Interim Board of the Trust and President of Coalition of Liberian Business Organizations, and Ms Elizabeth Bannerman, Co-chair, and President of the Liberian Women Chamber of Commerce expressed hope that the Liberian Entrepreneur Trust has found the balance that will over time result in the development of indigenous entrepreneurs.
The Liberian Entrepreneur Trust is a Liberian domiciled company holding shares for the benefit of parties below, representing over 200,000 Liberian people.
Companies in Liberia Business Association (LIBA), Liberia Marketing Association(LMA), Liberia Timber & Logging Association, Liberia Women Chamber of Commerce (LWCC), Concerned Liberian International Business Organization (COLINBO), Fulah Business Association, Liberia Bankers Association, Liberia Motorcycle Transport Union (Pen Pen Association) and Petty Traders Association. Others are Industrial Fishing Association of Liberia, Liberia Chamber of Architects, and Lofa Development Corporation,.
The 3,000,000 Liberian Iron shares issued to the Entrepreneurs Trust currently represent 15% of the equity in the company, with an overall 49% of the company being Liberian owned.
Liberian Iron has been structured as a company suitable for listing on the Australian Stock Exchange. The company intends to publicly list should an iron ore exploration licence be granted over Wologizi Range.
Liberian Iron is associated with Terrain Capital Limited, an Australian corporation with extensive experience in resource funding. In recent West African transactions Terrain Capital assisted TGP Australia Pty Ltd (now publicly listed as Kogi Iron Limited, ASX:KFE).
Thus far approximately $20million has been raised for the iron ore project, which has resulted in a maiden JORC Resource of 488 million tonnes. Terrain also worked with Nigeria Gold Pty Ltd (now a publicly listed gold explorer as Australian Mines Limited, ASX:AUZ). Thus far over $9million has been dedicated to the project.
As both these projects progress the stock exchange listings provide a transparent mechanism to raise further funds to develop these projects.
Terrain capital explained at the Entrepreneur Trust launch how a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange will provide maximum transparency on the operations of Liberian Iron.
"This in turn allows appropriate amounts of capital to be invested as the Wologizi project moves through its evolution from exploration, to development and finally onto production. Australian resource companies are adept at doing this, with the market having the potential to supply billions of dollars of capital. This approach allows the shareholders, Liberians, including the Liberian Entrepreneur Trust, to benefit by maintaining the highest possible level of ownership of Wologizi," a statement quoted officials.
Liberian Iron plans to work with best of breed technical consultants in order to bring Wologizi Range into production. The contractors identified in Liberian Iron's submission for Wologizi Range include Ore Search Drilling, a company that has undertaken projects at Putu Range, Marampa and Simandou; Fugro, a company that has undertaken 2 million line kilometres or aeromagnetic survey in Nigeria and 1.6 million line kilometres in Saudi Arabia; and Machahon, a company whose projects range from the USD$1,900,000,000 170 million tonnes per annum iron ore project in Australia to a smaller USD$120,000,000 5 million tonnes per annum operations in Nigeria.
Liberian Iron has initiated the process to secure free prior informed consent of relevant stakeholders within Lofa County and Liberia, which includes engagement of the Lofa County Legislative Caucus, clans, chiefdoms and other local officials and civil society groups within the Wologizi project area.
The board members and consultants of Liberian Iron include a mix of Liberians and Australians, including: Dominic Marinelli and Michael Ramsden Directors of Terrain Capital; Samuel Jackson, former Liberian Minister of State for Economic and Financial Affairs; Jack Haddad, a Liberian born businessman based in Australia; Samuel A. Mitchell former President of the Liberian Business Association; John G. Bestman two times minister of finance in Liberia, one time minister of telecommunication & post, and governor of the Central Bank of Liberia; Nyekan Eboko, experienced Liberian businessman; and David Reeves, managing director of London Stock Exchange listed iron ore explorer Ferrex PLC.
Liberian Iron's technical expertise also includes Don Carroll, a resource and iron ore veteran with a carrier spanning 29 years with BHP Billiton, and prior to that Rio Tinto.
He has held a number of senior positions including President BHP Billiton Japan and President BHP Billiton India. Mr Carroll's West African experience includes development of BHP's Bauxite operations in Guinea.