MONROVIA – On November 9, 2022, a local organization in Grand Bassa County -Citizens United to Serve Humanity (CUSH) initiated a series of public sensitization activities on the Phase II Expansion of ArcelorMittal in select affected communities within the operational areas of the world’s second largest steel company, ArcelorMittal.
CUSH held radio talk shows, community group discussions and intellectual forum dialogues to explain the benefits of AML’S Phase Two Expansion to the people of Grand Bassa County.
On Wednesday December 7, 2022, its one-month activity came to an end with the youth lead CSO group holding a press conference in Buchanan to announce the outcome.
The group said AML’s expansion project is aimed at moving production to 30 million tons per annual and promises to deliver huge economic benefits to Liberia, from the production of a mega iron ore processing plant, to increase in government revenue through taxes and royalties, as well as contribution to Corporate Social Responsibilities and thousands of direct and indirect jobs.
“ArcelorMittal Liberia has also planned an additional investment of 200 million to expand the capacity of the railway and by extension the Port of Buchanan to augment its potential to handle complex, huge logistics movement and increase shipment”
“All these activities under AML’s Phase II expansion have potentially summed up the total financial capital required for the project to a whooping 1.2 billion dollars”.
CUSH’s team lead Samuel Toby told the press conference that its constructive public dialogue and community engagement meetings on the phase two expansion of ArcelorMittal in affected communities in Grand Bassa County targeted youths, women, persons with disabilities, community and religious leaders, students, local authorities, chiefs, women, and youth groups across the Grand Bassa County.
Over the last few months, he explained that his team provided a broad, comprehensive understanding of how since her entry into Liberia in 2005, AML has continued to be a beacon of hope and pillar of economic advancement since the end of war.
“The information supplied by us to the concerned communities- Moore Town, Waywohn City, Seahn Town, Barseegiah Town and St John are pertinent to the expansion project of ArcelorMittal and by extension how these communities can hardness the benefits therein and advance socio-economic potential. They have pledged support for AML expansion and urged their leaders to act with urgency and expediency”.
He said throughout the engagement, throughout the engagements, “our people spoke frankly”.
According to the statement issued in Buchanan early Wednesday, the people in the affected communities in Grand Bassa acknowledged the AML’s vital contribution and spoke to issues concerning the concession and its operation.
“They made sound recommendations bordering on community benefits, utilization of the county social development funds. They support AML’s expansion, and expressed hope that it takes into consideration employment opportunities for young Liberians within their communities”
CUSH said its community engagement created an avenue whereby citizens within the affected communities not just spoke about the positive impacts of ArcelorMittal Liberia, including the challenges they face as the result of the company’s operations.
For example, the local Civil Society Organization said in the affected communities where it carried out the public sensitization activities, community members unanimously praised ArcelorMittal’s 20% social development fund that goes directly for projects in the affected communities.
As a grassroots organization which believes in effective advocacy, public awareness, and other goals, CUSD its partnership to carry out the awareness is squarely based on a sense of national duty to help communicate the Phase II Expansion Project of ArcelorMittal and its huge economic benefits to communities, as well as reporting to “our partner on the feedbacks collected from citizens within the affected communities”.
We remain whole heartedly interested in seeing a cordial working relationship between the communities and the AML as this is key for more potential foreign direct investment which can foster and maintain economic growth and the financing the construction of new infrastructure and creating jobs for the population.
CUSH appreciates ArcelorMittal Liberia for the trust and confidence, as well as the many citizens within the affected communities who turned-out to participate in the public dialogue activities noting it remains committed to sharing information that brings positive change to all communities.
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