U.S Based Sithe Global To Invest in Liberia--About 7,000 Jobs To Be Created

Thursday, 27th September 2007
New York, USA - The New York based Sithe Global which is developing an aluminum refinery in the West African state of Guinea estimated at US$3.3 billion has expressed interest in the cultivation of oil palm in Liberia.

The General Manager of Sithe Global, Carmine farnan told Liberian Vice President Joseph N. Boakai in New York Wednesday  that his company intends to cultivate 5,000 hectares of oil palm plantation, and that the crude oil extracted from the plantation would be used as an alternative to heavy fuel.

He said the 250,000 tons of heavy fuel required every year to operate the aluminum refinery in Guinea was too costly.  

Farnan said because of the rainfall deficit in Guinea, oil palm yield there would be low, saying his company is targeting Grand cape Mount County and other parts of northwestern Liberia, due to its proximity Guinea.

He said the company would also build storage tanks at the Freeport of Monrovia to store the palm oil, some of which, he said, would also be used domestically as cooking oil.

Farnan said the project would create employment opportunities for between 5,000 and 7,000 persons, and would help out-growers increase their yields by improving their methodology and their sustainability.

The Sithe Global Biodiesel Managing director said the company would dispatch agro and oil palm experts to Liberia in October this year to conduct detailed feasibility study for the project.

In remarks, Vice President Boakai welcomed the Sithe company, saying government was interested in this project, especially as its operations would be concentrated in northwestern Liberia.

Vice President Boakai said government has concluded arrangements with the London based Equatorial Biofeuls to begin operations in southeastern Liberia.

He said thousands of acres of oil palm plantations were developed in Liberia in the 1970s, and that with the bountiful rainfall in the country, there were opportunities to grow oil palm in all parts of Liberia.

The Liberian Vice President added that oil palm production for Liberia is in the right direction because, he noted, it would also serve as a form of reforestation.

Nimba County Representative Edwin Gaye who also attended the meeting, said his county has vast forestland which is waiting to be exploited, and encouraged the Sithe Global officials to consider establishing farms in Nimba which is also lies close to Guinea.