MONROVIA – With the aim of primarily making sure that while foreign companies can generate a profit from their investment in the extraction of Liberia’s resources, for the country and its citizens’ benefit as well, ArcelorMittal-Liberia (AML), [in 2005] signed its initial mineral development agreement (MDA) to permit the commencement of mining activities in the Nimba town of Yekepa and Buchanan, Grand Bassa county concessions, which was amended in 2006 to carry straight conditionalities that pave the way for sustainable development and economic, social and environmental investment in Liberia.
As a result of this, ArcelorMittal in the MDA committed to constituting three millions United States dollars for county social development into the three counties affected by its operations. Accordingly,
Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa counties in the agreement stand to benefit $75 million dollars over the entire life span of the agreement of 25-years.
AML, the world’s leading integrated steel and mining company, has not faltered on her commitment to advance social development in the communities affected by its mining and logistics operations. Over the years, this money has been used for community development projects that will uplift and improve the lives of local people in the communities where the company has been operating since 2005, a release by the company said.
Not just the payment to counties, The release also said the government also included “commitments to infrastructure development, environmental protection” and an overall guiding principle of uplifting Liberia and her people.
Under the agreement, AML is mandated to keep operational medical and education facilities in areas of operation, to serve employees, their families, and the broader community and to prioritize the employment and development of local Liberians.
Over the past 18, years, ArcelorMittal which has fulfilled all these obligations and in the most part, has gone far beyond its responsibilities under the mineral development agreement to include from helping fight Ebola and COVID to building market structures, schools, clinics, road rehabilitation, lighting up Yekepa and helping the government regularly solve urgent national imperatives in health, infrastructure, and education sector outside of its concessional areas.
AML continues to demonstrate responsible business leadership, catering to employees housing, children school fees and providing quality, the release recounted, and added that in 2018, the ArcelorMittal Liberia Launched a Vocational Training Center (VTC) in Yekepa; now the ArcelorMittal Training Academy has opened with a USD $ 7million investment by the company to provide improved technical, educational opportunities in several disciplines for young Liberians to enhance the workforce and economic development for a prosperous Liberia.
As Dr Bropleh disclosed recently at the Grand Bassa Community college in Buchanan, the Ganta-Yekepa Road pavement is becoming a near reality with ArcelorMittal’s demonstrated commitment to development in Liberia.
Said Dr Bropleh: Today, the road with the continuous involvement of our current President, George Manneh Weah, is a near reality. ArcelorMittal will be remembered for providing the seed fund that saw the establishment of what is today- Grand Bassa University.
Currently, ArcelorMittal is constructing three children’s playgrounds in Zoweinta, Bong County, Frank Diggs Town in Grand Bassa and, Camp#4 in Yekepa, according to the AML release which indicated that with Phase Two expansion unfolding, the company continues to engage communities in the counties to contribute to their social and economic development, making its operation an integral part of its local community.
“This has come on the wheels of providing jobs, building local infrastructure, and creating opportunities for local businesses to supply its mining and logistical functions,” the release said.
These interventions have come at great cost, but the company sees them as a demonstration of true partnership with the government and people of Liberia.
This is why, the AcelorMittal even further showed its long-term investment plan in the 3rd mineral development agreement worth about one billion dollars for a new brownfield mining activity in Liberia.
The Chief Executive Officer for ArcelorMittal-Liberia, Jozephus Coenen, last year reminded the country about his company’s position on its 3rd Mineral Development Agreement with the government and emphasized its economic and development significance.
“With the MDA’s amendment coming into effect, ArcelorMittal-Liberia will significantly ramp up the production of premium iron ore, generating significant new jobs and wider economic benefits for Liberia” he said.
“This is exciting news, not just for our workforce, but also for all Liberians and the country. The expansion project encompasses processing, rail, and port facilities and is one of the largest mining projects in West Africa with a capital investment of over a billion United States Dollars”.
The AML CEO also went on to lay out the company’s ongoing Phase-II Expansion Project, which has created nearly 3000 jobs during the construction phase, with Liberians filling most of these roles.
Coenen was basically reminding Liberians about the long way AML has come as a company with the Government and people of Liberia, saying “we are proud of our partnership with Liberia”.