MONROVIA – ArcelorMittal’s mining project in Liberia is the first Greenfield mining operation undertaken by the company since its entered Liberia in 2006 following the merger of Arcelor and Mittal Steel.
While the global steel giant mines iron ore at Yekepa, in Nimba County, and then transport the ore by rail to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, for export, the company does this with a huge responsibility to the communities affected by this chain of operation.
ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) has committed time without number that host communities are central to achieving a successful world class mining objective that leave with concrete community impact.
For this the company has over the years recruited, trained, and employed Liberians who come from different communities like Camp#4 in Yekepa, Zowenta in Bong and Frank Diggs, Moore Town, and Buchanan City.
ALM last year launched its community development scholarship to fund education of hundreds of young people in host communities as it also runs the 20% affected communities impact project delivery scheme. Here, the company works with local county leaders to implement meaningful projects in the communities that directly feel the impact of its mining and logistics operations.
Dozens of handpumps, schools, clinics are built yearly.
But as the company gradually moves to phase two expansion with a target of 30 million tons per annual, these community are beginning to see increased community development projects.
For example, under the Phase Two Expansion objective named- “Safeguarding our communities Program”, ArcelorMittal April this year began the construction of three playgrounds in select locations in Bassa, Nimba and Bong counties.
The playgrounds faced, and solar lights installed stand to help hundreds of children in Zowinta, Frank Diggs and Camp#4 improve their cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being.
Last month, the company through the expansion project donated a four-door pickup to the Bassa Police Detachment after nearly two years of operating without any official vehicle which is essentially a workstation for patrol officers.
While the company will expand the rail by additional investment, under the phase two expansion project, ArcelorMittal-Liberia seeks to strengthen the Buchanan Seaport’s Cargo handling capacity- a justified investment into upgrading transport facilities as a stimulator of economic growth.
According to AML Phase-II project Logistics Manager the company is shipping more than 4,000 rails to Buchanan, from Spain, and load for shipment to South Africa a consignment of logistics equipment, meant for the project, to South Africa, for repair and reshipment to Liberia.
As of now, the company is training more than 150 young people to be process operators for its ore beneficiary plant being constricted in Yekepa, Nimba County. This is in addition to the continuous training of dozens of Liberians with technical mining specializations at the highly rated Yekepa Vocational Training Center.
In Buchanan, scores of young people have taken up short-term employment with Afcons, one of the largest infrastructure construction companies in India contracted by ArcelorMittal Liberia.
Afcon is currently building a conveyor belt at the port of Buchanan to enable fast and timely delivery of bulk iron ore for shipment.
Without doubt, ArcelorMittal is contributing to economic development not just by providing jobs, but also through its demonstrated commitment to build local infrastructure and create opportunities for local businesses to supply its operation.
AML has a long-standing history of working with communities to improve local health and education outcomes through the building of health safety clubs in schools along the rail line and service roads in Grand Bassa, Nimba and Bong Counties.