MONROVIA – ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Chief Executive Officer, Jozephus Coenen has reported that the Phase II expansion project is actively on track and that in the last quarter, there were significant headways across the engineering, procurement, controls, and construction phases, of the project.
“We’ve signed almost all of the key construction contracts, and today, construction is progressing across multiple fronts – Civils, Material handling, Structural steel erection, Tailings storage, and power station. In parallel, we’ve pushed ahead on driving better controls for the project with a new digital tool called PRISM,” he said.”
CEO Coenen reported that the next big milestone going forward is the approval of the complete budget for the overall project value of approximately US$1.6 billion.
“Thanks to the rapid progress and momentum we’ve managed to build in the last 3 months, we’re more confident now of commissioning the plant in Q3 2024 which is our guiding milestone,” he assured.
At the same time, he said management is aware of multiple risks that could put this milestone at risk – some of which are known, such as the delayed arrival of free issue equipment, and some which are yet unquantified.
However, he said active work is ongoing to mitigate and claw back potential delays, on both fronts.
He also reported that the company is proud of its safety performance so far, with the implementation of the Phase II project. “Our health and safety metrics have been rapidly improving. This year, we’ve completed over 1.3M manhours with no reported incidents year to date,” he said.
“We also received high praise from the leadership team on our commitment to safety, following the visit of Robin Paulmier, corporate head of Health and Safety, to the site.”
As construction ramps up, and as more and more contractors get mobilized on site, the Project HSE team is working closely with all our contractors to ensure they meet AML’s high bar for safety.
“Distinguished colleagues, ArcelorMittal is here for the long haul,” the CEO emphasized.
He said the company’s commitment to improving the outcomes for Liberians remains a key priority, noting that with the Phase II expansion, it has ramped up local recruitment for key roles in the project – cost controller, contract manager, housing lead, etc., to name a few.
He said at the same time, the company is also pushing for various initiatives to upskill Liberian talent through multiple programs in addition to placing significant thrust on retaining and expanding local representation at all levels (including leadership roles).