HPX, Liberian govt, Guma sign letter of intent to develop Liberty Corridor

12th February 2024 By: Sabrina Jardim - Creamer Media Online Writer

HPX, Liberian govt, Guma sign letter of intent to develop Liberty Corridor

Ivanhoe Mines co-chairperson Robert Friedland

US-based mineral exploration and development company High Power Exploration (HPX), which is backed by Ivanhoe Mines co-chairperson Robert Friedland, has signed a letter of intent (LoI) with the Liberian government and pan-African diversified investment and operations group Guma Africa Group to enter into negotiations to own, design, finance, develop and operate the Liberty Corridor – a new multi-user infrastructure corridor connecting Guinea and Liberia.

The $3-billion to $5-billion project will connect Nimba, Guinea’s richest mining region, with a new railroad to a new deepwater port in Liberia, an extension of the existing hydropower network from Co╠éte d’Ivoire into the Nimba districts of Liberia and Guinea.

This is an extension of investment in infrastructure in the region, such as the upgrading of existing road networks in the Nimba district to all-weather roads and the implementation of a fibreoptic telecommunication cable connecting Liberia to the Nimba district and potentially beyond.

The Liberty Corridor would be a joint development between the Liberian government, HPX and the Guma Africa Group.

The three parties entered into an exclusive 30-day period LoI – which can be extended – during which the final framework agreement will be negotiated. On completion of the final agreement, the document will be presented to the Liberian legislature for ratification.

The three parties will also form a tripartite Liberty Corridor project steering committee to liaise with all stakeholders and potential international financiers.

“HPX looks forward to being part of the growth of Liberia’s mining industry and working collaboratively with the government of Liberia to expand both the mining sector and multiuser infrastructure opportunities centred around the Liberty Corridor,” says HPX CEO Bronwyn Barnes.

A Liberia-Guinea multi-user infrastructure corridor has the potential to transform the mineral-rich Nimba region, in Liberia, and for projects along the railway and road corridor in Liberia.

Moreover, the Liberty Corridor will stimulate economic activity in mining, agriculture, manufacturing, health and education, as well as improve the quality of life for the people living in the region and create sustainable regional employment.

The project is consistent with Liberian President Joseph Nyuma Boakai Senior’s Administration’s Agriculture, Road, Rule of Law, Education, Sanitation, and Tourism agenda, which seeks to positively impact on those sectors including electricity, telecommunications and the movement of goods and services.

Boakai notes that the project comes less than a month into his term and presents job opportunities for young people.

“We are happy with the relationship with our American and South African counterparts, especially seeing this project comes less than a month into my new administration. We have to prove to our partners that we are serious, accountable and honest, and that corruption will not be a hindrance to this administration," he says.

Boakai also thanks HPX management for the determination expressed to operate in Liberia, to provide employment opportunities for Liberians and to contribute to the economic viability of the country. He also assures Liberians that there are prospects and good news on the horizon for the country.

The US has announced a series of new Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) initiatives around the world to build out transformative economic corridors and drive infrastructure investments that can boost and connect economic development across multiple countries and sectors, including the Lobito Atlantic railway corridor, launched by US President Joe Biden at the Group of 7 (G7) Summit in Japan in May 2023.

“The opportunities that a new, world class infrastructure corridor will offer are in line with the objectives of the US government’s strategy towards sub-Saharan Africa, and the commitments given by President Biden and the G7 in a flagship infrastructure initiative – the PGII,” adds HPX chairperson retired ambassador J Peter Pham.

The Lobito railway corridor, currently connecting Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia, helps integrate the three countries and enhance their connections with global markets by expanding export possibilities, boosting regional trade, and growing a variety of key market sectors.

Ivanhoe Mines, a major Africa-focused mining company founded and co-chaired by Friedland, announced on February 7 that Ivanhoe Mines would be the first commercial customer to transport up to 240 000 t of copper concentrate along the Lobito Corridor.