Community Rights and Corporate Governance

TIMBY Factsheet Vol.1 October 2019

Equatorial Palm Oil (EPO) runs the Palm Bay Estate palm oil concession in District #4 of Grand Bassa County. This concession falls under a 2008 agreement between its subsidiary Libinco (formerly Libinc Palm Oil Inc) and the Republic of Liberia. EPO has an approved Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for 13,962 hectares. Thousands of hectares of palm oil have been rehabilitated or newly planted (since 2014) as part of what the company termed ‘phase 1’ of 8370 hectares. Gmenee village sits right in that new planting area.

The Struggle Between the Powerful and the People

In November 2018, the Sustainable D e v e l o p m e n t I n s t i t u t e ( S D I ) commissioned field-based research on p r i v a t e l y o w n e d m o n o c u l t u r e plantations across Bomi County, Liberia. The study sought to identify and provide a broader understanding on the nature and implications of privately owned land holdings on the livelihood/food sovereignty of local communities in view of the expansion of Sime Darby's plantation activities. The research is aligned with promoting SDI's approach on community rights and food security with good governance in forest and climate p

High Risk in the Rainforest

In August 2010, Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) signed an agricultural concession agreement with the Gov- ernment of Liberia covering 350,000 hectares, or approximately 2.3 percent of the country’s land mass. The land indicated in the concession agreement is densely forested, rich in biodiversity and customari- ly owned and used by rural communities as the source of their food and water, livelihoods and culture.

Keeping The Promise

This report will examine two of the most serious potential threats to good governance and professional management of Liberian forests: the looming wave of Community Forestry Management Agreements (CFMAs), and the potential for large-scale conversion of forests into agriculture plantations – particularly oil palm. By examining these emerging issues critically, the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) hopes to warn the Liberian government and its partners of the potential for abuse and mismanagement in coming years.

Community Relations in Putu Iron Ore Mining Concession

This report evaluates Putu Iron Ore Mining operations in southeastern Liberia. At the PIOM concession, full-scale mining has not yet commenced, and as such the local population is largely hopeful of future opportunities and the company enjoys a fairly strong reputation. However, there are signs for concern. In 2011 a riot at PIOM caused two deaths and necessitated an ERU response, and there have been local complaints that the company is not doing enough to offer stable employment opportunities to residents of the district.

Community Relations in China Union Concession

This report highlights China Union’s slowness in living up to provisions of its agreement with the Government of Liberia, pointing to widespread dissatisfaction in Fuamah District, Bong County with the company’s operations and its abusive treatment of Liberian workers. SDI called on the Government of Liberia to press China Union to ensure that it fully complies with the terms of its Mineral Development Agreement with Liberia and that allegations of violence against Liberian workers are addressed and that violators are punished.

Poverty in the Midst of Plenty

This report reveals that Liberia earns too little from its iron ore exports. It reveals that the country gives overly generous tax breaks to iron ore investors grossly undercutting its revised Revenue Code. For example, while the Revenue Code requires multinationals to pay 30 percent income taxes on all corporate profits, ArcelorMittal, China Union, and Putu only pay 25 percent. The report also reveals that state-citizen relations and relations between local communities and foreign multi-nationals operating in the mining sector are strained.

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