Monday, May 24, 2010

Extractive Inustries - Potential Oportunities

Penelope Chester writing for the UN Dispatch got this right...

Extracting Benefits From The Natural Resource Industry
UN Dispatch
Penelope Chester - May 24, 2010 - 9:25 am


Mining giants haven't failed to take note of opportunities in West Africa. The Financial Times reports that six major mining groups are planning on spending billions of dollars in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in a bid to profit from the region's rich resources, particularly iron ore.

In Guinea, for example, Vale - a Brazilian company, the world's largest iron ore mining firm - bought a $2.5-billion majority stake in BSG Resources (Guinea). In addition to the cash value of the deal for the Guinean government, Vale's indispensable infrastructure investments to move minerals from mine to port will also be significant. Plans include the renovation of 410 miles of railway between the two countries, and the construction of a $1-billion port in Didia, a town in southeastern Liberia. Infrastructure investments will total between $5 billion to $8 billion by 2020.

The recent deal by Vale underscores the West African region's increasing appeal for mining companies, who - for better or worse - are well-equipped to work in politically and economically unstable countries. Recent trends in corporate social responsibility are slowly paving the way toward greater transparency and social accountability. This includes the creation of international regulations and standards for the natural resource industry, like the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, or theGlobal Reporting Initiative. For publicly-traded mining companies, whose shareholders are becoming increasingly more aware of the human and environmental costs, a real shift is beginning to occur in tems of how a company works with the communities in which they operate.

The natural resource industry can be as much of a bane as it is a boon in developing countries, and there is plenty of evidence showing just how corrupting of a force the industry can be in places with poor governance. That said, mining can also bring about significant economic gains – if the revenues generated are reinvested properly. Furthermore, mining companies often come into remote areas and communities where they generate employment and demand for services. Companies who are leading in social responsibility take it one step further, and partner with governments and development organizations to ensure that sustainable investments are made in infrastructure, health and educational facilities, helping to support local businesses.

In Tanzania, for example, Canadian gold mining giant Barrick is partnering with USAID and EngenderHealth, an international reproductive health organization, to fund and implement the Lake Zone Initiative, aiming to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis and improve the availability and quality of health services for underserved populations in the Lake Zone region (home to nine million residents in Tanzania).
The key to having these new investments in West Africa truly benefit the local population is to ensure that the investments correspond to local development priorities. New infrastructure such as railways and ports should benefit the people of Liberia and Guinea as much as it facilitates a company's operations. Vale, for example, intends to reconstruct a railway line for passenger use in Guinea. If a company plans to spend significan amounts of money on infrastructure or health care (building hospitals, for example), they should be doing so in coordination and partnership with local authorities.

Countries like Liberia and Guinea can catalyze potential development opportunities by creating a regulatory environment that attracts foreign mining companies. They can also help secure positive outcomes for their populations. Liberia, for example, has launched the Liberian EITI, an initiative meant to ensure proper and transparent management of forestry revenues.

At a time when foreign aid and development assistance budgets are under tremendous pressure, there is a real opportunity for governments and local populations to leverage the additional revenues and ancillary investments that come from natural resource companies operating in their countries.

Image: Derelict iron mine facility in Bong County, Liberia (Penelope Chester)

UN Dispatch


Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

ALERT - Possible Oil Exploration of Liberia's Mangroves

In the news:

Simba Energy Raises Additional Funds As Investors Warm To Its Liberian Exploration Project
May 19, 2010

These may be uncertain times but it seems there is still a market appetite for wildcatting in new energy frontiers. Canada’s Simba Energy, which is hoping to find black gold in the untested mangrove swamps of Liberia in West Africa, recently announced a near doubling of a non-brokered private placement launched in April.

Originally the company, which is listed in Toronto and Frankfurt, planned to raise C$1 million through a private placement of up to 14,285,715 units - comprising one common share and one transferable share purchase warrant to buy another common share within two years at a price of C$0.15 per share - priced at C$0.07 per unit. Now the company has increased the private placement to 28 million units to raise C$1.96 million, with the proceeds used to fund general working capital. This...

© 2009 Minesite


Liberia, Not so fast!

Mangroves are the wetland communities found in the intertidal zone of estuaries.
It is important that we look after these areas and protect them. Not only because they are vital to the continued health of many of our fish stocks but also because we have a moral and social responsibility to look after our environment and to leave it in a healthy condition for future generations.

Oil activity in mangroves causes a series of environmental impacts:

interruption of fresh water flow to the trees;
alteration in the flow of sea water both toward and within the forests, altering the drainage patterns and causing changes in vegetation and soils and a general instability in the area;
deforestation, caused by construction of infrastructure such as: drilling platforms, camps, wells, access roads, heliports, refineries, pipelines etc;
well drilling completely destroys the surrounding area, and alters the natural hydrology of the mangrove;
changes in the soils can provoke alterations in the pH of the soil and water, leading to a chronic deterioration in the quality of the mangroves;
discharging of solid wastes can destroy the mangrove forest by asphyxiation of the pneumatophors or by the formation of a barrier to the ebb and flow of water;
dumping of liquid wastes (formation water) produces negative impacts on the animal life of the mangrove.

The recovery of the mangroves after such impacts can take 10 to 20 years, even if no new spills occur.

Damage the Mangroves and say goodby to recreational and commercial fisheries.

Damage the Mangroves and say goodby to feeding and breeding areas for many species of fish and crustaceans that support an abundance and diversity of birdlife.

Damage the Mangroves and say goodby to important physical protection of the coast from erosion and storms (as if our problems are not big enough already).

Damage the Mangroves and say goodby to biologically productive natural systems contributing organic matter to estuaries.

Damage the Mangroves and say goodby to filter of sediments and other substances that may accumulate from land runoff.

There have been international calls for moratoriums on oil exploration in the mangroves, including the Oilwatch Declaration to the 7th Conference to the Parties (COP) to the Ramsar Convention (San José, Costa Rica, 10-18 May 1999)

The EarlyBird Foundation calls for:

The stoppage of any new oil exploration in mangrove zones.

The avoidance of mangrove zone in the planning of oil and gas pipeline routes.

The integration into the RAMSAR Convention of all mangrove zones which are at risk or under pressure from oil activity, with the objective of preserving their integrity.

An inventory under the Convention, of tropical mangrove zones which have already suffered some intervention, in order to begin their immediate restoration.

A socio-environmental impact study of all oil activities in mangrove zones to be carried out under the auspices of the Convention. The study should cost the impacts of oil activity and their restoration, and establish responsibilities. The results of this study to be made legally binding for RAMSAR member countries.

Efforts to be made by the Secretariat of the RAMSAR Convention to integrate those countries, which while not members are confronting problems with, or threats of, oil extraction activities in their mangrove zones.

Oil and Mangroves do not mix!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

SAPO Photos

Check out Glenna Gordon's photos

Sapo National Park, some nice shots of a beautiful rainforest.



Labels: ,

Friday, May 14, 2010

Job - Construction Superintendent - Railroad

Construction Superintendent - Railroad

Liberia jobs
$10k USD per month + Package
Date posted:
14/05/2010 15:40
Oil / Gas / Power jobs
Job role:
Site manager jobs
Job type:
Permanent jobs
The Highfield Company
Toby Ball
Job ID:

My client is one of the world’s leading civil engineering and project management companies. Having extensive knowledge in the international construction arena they currently focus on a variety of projects including; Oil, Gas, Building, Petrochemical, civil works, rail and infrastructure.

They have recently started work on a major railroad revitalisation project in Liberia, Western Africa. The project itself requires a senior rail superintendent who has extensive experience in the construction and rehabilitation of rail projects, ideally in the mining sectors.

You will also have an in depth understanding Africa and working on major civils projects in the region. Liberia is classed as a hardship location and you will need to be able to drive projects forward and get local staff working together.

This role is available for an immediate start and offers a rotation of 70 days on 15 days off. On top of this you will be supplied with a comprehensive package as well.

For more information please contact Toby Ball on 0044 2380 554 334 or


Interesting, EarlyBird

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chinafrica (28) Watching for PRC Influence in Africa

ET China Defends Activities in Africa
Wall Street Journal
MAY 12, 2010, 9:43 A.M.

By J.R. WU
BEIJING - China Vice Commerce Minister Fu Ziying pushed back against Western criticism over China's activities in Africa, describing Chinese investment as "more market-driven" and defending Beijing's stance on recent flare-ups.

Economic activity in Africa has surged in recent years with Beijing becoming an important investor, creditor and donor for many African nations. But with the rise of China's financial influence on the continent, concerns persist that Beijing is preying on the continent's resources to feed the Chinese economy, contributing little significant improvement to African livelihoods.

Amid such criticism and as China asserts that its presence in Africa is increasingly being shaped by nongovernment actors, Beijing has put in place some mechanisms to deal with issues surrounding its investment and trade on the resource-rich continent...

Read on... link:


Labels: ,