Liberia to Host International Convention on Energy, Petroleum and Mining

Mines and Energy Minister Gesler Murray

MONROVIA – The Government of Liberia (GOL) in partnership with SEMICA Liberia is expected to host an international convention and exhibition on energy, mining and petroleum, in a bid to attract investment opportunities to the country’s extractives sector.

The convention and exhibition dubbed: SEMINA Liberia 2019 will kick off on November 28-30 at the Millennium Afriland Hotel in Monrovia.

It will take place under the theme: “Exploring opportunities and investment in Africa’s mining, energy and petroleum industries”.

According to Mines and Energy Minister Gesler Murray, the initiative seeks to eye potential investment opportunities for the marketing of Liberia’s extractives to the world.

He made the disclosure at a news conference held at the conference room of the Ministry of Mines and Energy in Monrovia on Thursday.

He disclosed that the conference will showcase Liberia’s extractives to foreign investors in the mining, oil and gas sectors for the benefit of the Liberian people.

Minister Murray pointed out that sisterly African countries would send their relevant authorities to ensure that a networking platform is setup for investment purposes in Liberia.

“We want to attract investors to the energy, mining and petroleum sectors of our country. We do not have the financial resources, we depend on our external financial partners that have the financial warranties to invest and grow these resources,” he stated.

“The exhibition is for us to showcase what we have, and attract investors. It will be characterized with seriousness, and a platform for the exchange of ideas on how to grow the various sectors. Our concept here is to see mining sector revenues being invested into other key sectors to make those sectors sustainable,” Minister Murray added.

He expressed the hope that the conference will help grow and attract investors to the extractives sector of the country.

“We want to attract investors to the energy, mining and petroleum sectors of our country. We do not have the financial resources, we depend on our external financial partners that have the financial warranties to invest and grow these resources.”

– Mines and Energy Minister Gesler Murray

Liberia’s reliance

Minister Murray pointed out that Liberia remains blessed with an impressive variety of mineral resources, but has traditionally relied on the mining of gold, iron ore, and diamonds as a major source of income.

Quoting a latest report from the World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa, the Lands, Mines and Energy Ministry boss noted that the mining sector in Liberia grew by 7%, as compared to the non-mining sectors such as agriculture, and manufacturing which declined by 3.5%.

“The recent growth in the mining sector signals the potential to contribute significantly to employment, income generation and infrastructure development. Notwithstanding, the development of these mineral resources has significant environmental impacts that often go unnoticed,” he stated.

 Minister Murray added that for more than half a century, the mining and export of iron ore has been the “mainstay” of the Liberian economy.

He pointed out that iron ore mining accounted for about 30% of the total export earnings in 2016, and the predominant position of its mining in the economy has largely “overshadowed the importance of other mineral resources”.

“The mining and export of gold and diamonds has also contributed importantly to the country’s revenue stream. Some other known mineral deposits that require further assessment to determine their economic viability are manganese, bauxite, kyanite, barite, and phosphate, among others,” he stated.

Energy sector

According to him, Liberia’s energy sector offers enormous opportunities relating mainly to hydro and solar potentials. 

“This is why our vision focuses on Liberia becoming a hub for renewable energy with the capacity to export excess generation. This vision is based on the facts that Liberia falls within a solar-rich region, lying between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn above the equator,” he noted.

Minister Murray indicated that through the six (6) rivers in Liberia, various grades of hydropower systems can be developed.

He bragged that the country’s legal, fiscal and regulatory framework gives investors the clarity and transparency they need.

“In the spirit of win-win partnership, Liberia is committed to providing investors with the incentives and other benefits they need to grow successful businesses,” Minister Murray intoned.

Government’s shortfalls

Minister Murray told reporters that government lacks the capacity and necessary resources to effectively monitor most lucrative alluvial mining sites in the country.

He disclosed that most of these sites are located in remote and inaccessible areas in Liberia, but government does not have the capacity to monitor those sites.

According to him, the Ministry is “trying to formalize the Artisanal and Small scale Mining (ASM) sector, with an objective to encourage artisanal and small scale miners to organize their mining activities through cooperatives to help improve recovery efficiency and environmental protection.