August 18, 2010 / 1:25 PM / 7 years ago

Liberia signs $1.6 bln palm oil investment: government

<p>Workers unload oil palm fruits from a truck to a storage area at the state-owned palm oil plantation in Luwu, Indonesia's South Sulawesi province August 7, 2010.Yusuf Ahmad (</p>

MONROVIA (Reuters) - Liberia's government has signed a $1.6 billion deal with Golden Veroleum for a 500-acre palm oil plantation in the southeast of the West African nation, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

"When ratified by the legislature, it will create over 35,000 jobs for Liberians," presidential spokesman Cyrus Badio told Reuters by telephone.

Liberia-based Golden Veroleum is backed solely by private equity fund Verdant.

Singapore's second-largest listed palm oil plantation firm Golden Agri-Resources said on Tuesday it was considering investing in Verdant to gain access to the project.

Golden Agri-Resources did not give financial details of the possible transaction for the land, which is three times the size of Singapore, but said the initial development will commence with 15,000 hectares.

The move comes after Indonesia announced plans to impose a two-year moratorium on new permits to clear forest for oil palm cultivation from 2011.

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