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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

HPX CEO Says Liberia Attractive Destination for Investment After Peaceful Elections

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Flourishing democracy in Liberia has made the West African nation of 5.4 million people a pretty destination for investment according to U.S. miner High Power Exploration.

HPX Chief Executive officer Bronwyn Barnes paid tribute to the country’s political leadership after a fiercely contested presidential and general elections climaxed into a peaceful democratic transition for the second time in nearly 70 years.

Outgoing President George Weah conceded defeat in record hours before the final results could be released by the National Elections Commission.

“The confirmation that a democratic transition from President Weah to yourself [Boakai] will occur has provided an excellent example for other countries seeking similar democratic outcomes.” She said in a letter addressed to Weah and President-elect Joseph Boakai.

“The true democratic environment that surrounded the just ended election in Liberia will also enhance Liberia’s attractiveness as an investment destination.”

High Power Exploration and its unit Ivanhoe Liberia have business interest in the West African nation and  for many years have sought to confirm rail access in Liberia for the Nimba Iron Ore Project in Guinea

In 2019 it entered into an agreement with the Governments of Liberia and Guinea to secure rail access.

“We wish to support the Government of Liberia in ensuring open, non-discriminatory access on a multi-user basis to this valuable national infrastructure asset in accordance with best international industry practice,” she said.

“It is my hope that under your leadership and guidance a new era will be ushered in for the development and expansion of this valuable infrastructure asset that is wholly owned by the Government of Liberia.

“A clear operating framework designed in line with best practice international principles will ensure that this valuable infrastructure asset is utilised to its full capacity by multiple parties, providing employment and economic activity for Liberia, substantial additional revenues for the Liberian Government, and fair and equitable rail and port access for all parties.

“The existing rail line connecting Yekepa to Buchanan can provide the backbone for a broader multiuser infrastructure corridor initiative containing world class rail, road, energy and telecommunications infrastructure that could unlock the mineral, agricultural and tourist potential of the Nimba regions of both Liberia and Guinea.

HPX provided a pre-payment to the Government of Liberia of USD 37 million in March 2022, on the understanding that a rail access agreement for the existing line between Yekepa and Buchanan and the right to use the Port of Buchanan would be concluded during 2022.

The United States Government has indicated its support for such an initiative, similar in structure to the recently announced Lobito Corridor connecting Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo through a shared rail and transportation link to the port of Lobito in Angola.

“That project is being built with significant financial support from the United States, the European Union and highly regarded international investors. Like the proposed Yekepa to Buchanan corridor that would link Guinea and Liberia, such projects support regional economic progress across border lines to the benefit of several African nations by unlocking the economic potential of an entire region.

“It is my hope that you will support this concept, which so firmly brings US Government support for leveraging the value of existing Liberian infrastructure and I look forward to an opportunity to brief you and members of your administration further on this project and HPX’s plans to further invest in Liberia.

“I extend to you my very best wishes for the success of the new government to be formed under your leadership. Please be assured of my every support and that of HPX as you work to implement your leadership vision for Liberia based upon the strong foundation of open and transparent engagement with the mining sector, and real partnerships to develop the economic potential of Liberia for the benefit of the Liberian people.

On President George Weah graceful admittance to defeat, Madam Browyn BARNES said:

“It is with my greatest respect and admiration that I congratulate you on the recent elections in Liberia. The fact that the lead up to the election was peaceful, the election process itself transparent, and the encouragement you gave to your supporters to accept the result is a testament to your personal integrity and strong moral code.

I also wish to personally thank you for the support that you have given Ivanhoe Liberia and High Power Exploration over the past few years as we sought to confirm rail access in Liberia to support development of the Nimba Iron Ore Project in Guinea.”

“Your commitment to ensuring that Liberians benefit from the infrastructure that they own was evidenced in your issuance of the Executive Order 112 in October 2022 which provided for open, non-discriminatory access on a multi-user basis in accordance with best international industry practice. Your commitment to Executive Order 112 resulted directly in the United States Government considering the broader opportunities for a multiuser infrastructure corridor, containing world class rail, road, energy and telecommunications infrastructure that could unlock the mineral, agricultural and tourist potential of the Nimba regions of both Liberia and Guinea”.

It is my hope that you will continue to support this concept, which so firmly brings US Government support for improvements to existing Liberian infrastructure.

Your name will forever be linked to this project and is testament to your foresight in championing multiuser access that in turn has such great potential to create generational wealth for the people of Liberia.”

 

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