Equatorial Palm Oil opens new mill and achieves first sales

Monday, May 09 2011 by
Equatorial Palm Oil opens new mill and achieves first sales

Equatorial Palm Oil (LON:PAL) , the AIM listed palm oil development company with operations in Liberia, has officially opened the country’s first commercial palm oil mill following eight months of construction and testing. Sales of crude palm oil began during April and a larger sale tender process is due to be undertaken during May. The Equatorial Palm Oil share price responded with a 3.3% rise to 22.88p.

EPO’s palm oil mill at its Palm Bay Estate in Grand Bassa County, was inaugurated by the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The US$3 million mill is currently processing 30 tonnes of fresh oil palm bunches (FFB) daily sourced from the surrounding 3,500 hectares of existing oil palms rehabilitated by the company over the past 12 months. An additional 1,200 hectares are being prepared for the 2011 planting of new oil palms currently in the nursery. Daily production is averaging five tonnes of CPO per day at an extraction rate of 17%. Production is expected to rise as the mill reaches full capacity in July 2011 with output in the order of 15 tonnes of CPO per day.

During the visit to Palm Bay, the President also saw the rehabilitated areas, land prepared for new planting, the nursery with over 200,000 young palms and a primary school established and operated by EPO. In the latest of several local charitable and community development projects being undertaken to improve the social well-being of the communities in which it operates, the company presented a cheque for US$25,000 towards a new local women’s market in the nearby town of Buchanan, which will have over 100 stalls for trading of goods and local produce.

Michael Frayne, the executive chairman of EPO, said: “The inauguration of the mill and commencement of CPO sales are two important milestones for Equatorial Palm Oil as the company continues with its development plans to become a significant palm oil producer in the West African region. The mill is a tangible example of the company’s continued investment providing a positive benefit for Liberia as it drives to create additional value for shareholders. The company seeks to continue planting and developing additional land areas to reach its planting target of 1,200 hectares in 2011 increasing to higher planting rates in subsequent years.”

EPO currently has a land holding covering around 169,000…

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Equatorial Palm Oil plc is a United Kingdom-based crude palm oil (CPO) developer and producer. The Company's principal activity is the cultivation of oil palms for the production of CPO and associated products in Liberia. Its operations include the Palm Bay Estate and the Butaw Estate. The Palm Bay estate covers approximately 13,010 hectares of land as part of the concession, as well as expansion areas totaling over 20,230 hectares. Palm Bay is approximately 160 kilometers south-east of the Liberian capital of Monrovia and over 30 kilometers from the deep water port of Buchanan. The Butaw Estate covers approximately 8,750 hectares of land as part of the concession, as well as expansion areas totaling over 46,540 hectares. Butaw is located in Sinoe County, over 350 kilometers south-east of Monrovia and approximately 40 kilometers from the City of Greenville. Its palm products, crude palm oil and crude palm kernel oil, will be trucked from Palm Bay estate to the port of Buchanan. more »

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