AML Relocates Rail Maintenance, Automatic Rail Unloading to Buchanan to Compensate Job Balance

MONROVIA: The last three weeks have come with challenges at ArcelorMittal Liberia, the leading private sector investment in the country.

Widely known as AML, the steel company has come under several attacks ranging from seizure of mining equipment to losses in operation due to an illegal workers’ union strike.

Just last week, a group of youth in the port city of Buchanan marched onto the concession area with violent protest, set tires on fire and even blocked the main entrance for several hours.

While the company has made efforts to engage in dialogues with the communities, the issue of “relocation of a washing plant to Nimba” is still being discussed in Bassa.

Many citizens hold the belief that once the plant is built in Nimba, the people of Bassa will be losing on potential jobs it seeks to create.

ArcelorMittal has clarified that the “washing plant” was a tentative development plan by Mittal Steel, and that it relocated its modern tech ore concentrator (not “washing plant”) to Nimba on the advice and recommendation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

But even with this relocation, the company says it still has Grand Bassa and its people at the heart of its operations thereby making choices to compensate for any possible job loss in Bassa County.

AML says as part of its Phase II expansion, the layout of the revised operation has also relocated all rail maintenance facilities to Buchanan in contrast with LAMCO, which had these in Nimba County.

LAMCO in its years of operation stationed its rail maintenance facility with the potential to employ dozens in Yekepa, Nimba.

Additionally, to help balance the number of jobs created with Nimba, the company is building an automatic rail unloading facility, stockpiling with stackers and reclaimers, and undertaking a major expansion of the Buchanan Port.

It is also planning to build a Vocational Training Center like the one in Yekepa in the city of Buchanan to help train the large number of technical employees that will be required for the phase Two Expansion.

ArcelorMittal Liberia not building a washing plant. The company seeks to produce a high-grade concentrate, which requires approximately 25 million tons annually of raw ore to produce 15 million tons of concentrated product.

Technically, transporting the raw ore to Buchanan would consume valuable rail capacity that is currently in demand by other users.

Let is put into broader perspective how much of resources it would require a company to transport ore mined in Nimba to Buchanan offloading it to allow it go through the process of concentration before loading it all over for shipment.

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