* Minister says resource investment hasn't helped Liberians
* Mining code dates back to 2000
* Many African states reviewing mining laws to boost income
MONROVIA, Nov 9 Liberia plans to revise its
mining laws to ensure the West African country's resources
benefit ordinary people, Lands and Mines Minister Patrick
Sandolo said in a statement aired on national radio on Friday.
Liberia remains one of the world's poorest and least
developed countries despite attracting a flood of foreign
investment in its rich minerals deposits since the end of a
civil war in 2003.
It is the latest in a string of African countries to
announce mining code reviews to boost state share in resource
profits, including Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, and
Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast.
"It is universally considered that this country has nothing
to show for the trillions of (Liberian) dollars which have been
earned from exploitation of our minerals," Sandolo said.
"The challenges that our nation faces are fundamental, and
the responses we fashion in response have to be equally
fundamental," he said, announcing the planned review of the
country's code, drawn up in 2000.
ArcelorMittal, the world's top steel maker, last
year restarted Liberia's first iron ore shipments since the war
and has plans for a big expansion in its operations. BHP
Billiton, Affero, and China Union are also
developing iron ore projects.
Sandolo did not say what kinds of revisions would be adopted
or whether they would be applied retroactively to existing
contracts. He said officials would start work on new proposals
later this month.
"Generally, there is need for the law to be revised to show
true stability to the principle of transparency and
accountability," he added.
Liberia is also in the midst of drawing up an oil code as
companies such as Chevron and Anadarko explore offshore.
The government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has come
under increasing pressure to ensure the country's resource
contracts are fair, after advocacy group Global Witness said
some timber and oil contracts appeared to have been marred by
fraud and mismanagement.
(Reporting by Alphonso Toweh; writing by Richard Valdmanis;
editing by James Jukwey)