Liberia is rich in natural resources, notably iron ore, diamonds, gold, timber and rubber. All of these sectors suffered dramatically during the civil war that ended in 2003. During the 14 years of war, all major mines were closed and the mineral sector’s contribution to the economy was reduced to a negligible level. In 2010, Liberia made significant progress in reviving the mining sector, which before 1990 had contributed more than 65% of the country’s export earnings and represented about 25% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Following the impact of Ebola on the economy, Liberia's GDP is expected to grow by 3.8% GDP in 2015, an increase from 1.8% growth in 2014. According to the latest LEITI Report, government revenue from the extractive sector increased by more than 68% to USD 186 million in fiscal year 2012/2013, and the value of total commodity exports grew by 126% to USD 352 million.
The mineral commodities produced included cement, diamond and gold. Liberia’s undeveloped mineral resources included base metals, such as cobalt, lead, manganese, nickel, and tin, and industrial minerals, such as dolorite, granite, ilmenite, kyanite, phosphate rock, rutile, silica sand and sulfur. The agriculture sector continues to be the leading contributor to growth followed by the services sector. The mining sector’s contribution to growth grown massively (from 3.7% in 2011 to 10.4% in 2012) due to an expansion of iron ore production.
There is currently no oil production in Liberia, although there have been exploration licenses awarded in the past decades. According to the LEITI Report covering fiscal year 2012/13, the oil and gas sector contributed more than 44% of revenue from the extractive sector and almost 10% of total government revenues. The increase was largely due to one signature bonus payment of USD 120 million made by Exxon Mobil to NOCAL, the national oil company.
Liberia’s 6th EITI Report covering the fiscal year 2012/13 was published in December 2015. The report covers the oil, mining, agriculture and forestry sectors. Total revenue was roughly USD 198 million, of which oil contributed 44%, mining contributed 38%, agriculture 11%, oil 7% and forestry 7%. Read the full LEITI 2012/13 Report.
Liberia is using the EITI process innovatively to investigate key areas of concern – particularly whether contracts were allocated correctly, but also whether companies paid what they should and whether earmarked went where it should.
Liberia has conducted an audit, investigating to what extent procedures were followed on the awarding of concessions, contracts, licenses and other rights between July 2009 and December 2011.
Generally data collection systems are weak, which affects the reliability of data. However, there is more information becoming available through the government cadaster system. There is considerable scope to integrate the EITI production and revenue data with the cadaster system.
In April 2015, the EITI Board agreed to extend Liberia's reporting dealine to 31 December 2015, and the commencement of Validation to 1 January 2016.
- EITI-specific law: LEITI Act of 2009.
- Coverage of forestry and agriculture sectors.
- Contracts for concessions in the sector are published on LEITI's website.
- Liberia EITI discovered that the procedure for awarding oil and mining contracts appeared not to be consistently followed. They therefore decided to perform what they called a “Post Award Process audit”, which looked at 68 contracts that had been awarded.
- Liberia is piloting beneficial ownership. An evaluation report published in August 2015 and a Beneficial Ownership Report from December 2015 present the initial outcome of the implementation of the beneficial ownership pilot in Liberia.