Country Overview: Liberia
COUNTRY OVERVIEW: LIBERIA
Located in West Africa, bordering Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, Liberia is the oldest independent republic in Africa with a population of 4 400 000 and comprises an area of 113,370km2. The international community has been encouraged by Liberia’s return to democracy in 2005 after years of civil war. Since the currently elected president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female head of state, took power in January 2006, Liberia has moved quickly towards rebuilding, economic growth and normalizing international relations with the rest of the world. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was re-elected in 2012 for a second term of 5 years and received the Nobel Peace Prize in the same year.
Liberia, which was historically the largest exporter of iron ore in Africa and the 5th largest iron ore producer globally is described as one of the last underexplored regions in the world. The country is hugely prospective for minerals exploration and production, hosting several world-class iron ore deposits as well as diamonds and gold with possible offshore deposits of crude oil.
Liberia has a robust, modern and transparent mining code based upon the well-established Australian system. It also has an attractive fiscal code and a government proactively engaged with the mining industry to help unlock the value of its potential mineral wealth. Liberia was the first country to become compliant with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (“EITI”) and was rated second best country in West Africa after Ghana by Transparency International.
The conducive business climate has attracted multinationals like ArcelorMittal, Severstal and Vedanta (iron ore), Aureus Mining, Hummingbird (gold), African Petroleum, Chevron, Exxon and Total (oil), Firestone (rubber), Sime Darby (palm oil) and Golden Veloreum amongst others who are all operating in-country.
Liberia was also among the multiple West African countries affected by the 2014 Ebola epidemic, the largest such outbreak in history. This in turn had a negative impact on the mining industry in terms of mining operations and economic growth, with a steep slump in production and prices. On 9 May 2015 Liberia was announced Ebola-free and the country’s mining sector is currently in remission.