In an article for GNN Liberia, Cholo Brooks opined that ArcelorMittal was a top-rated employer in Liberia. The company has nearly 3,000 employees and contractors in the country, out of which 95% are Liberians.
Partly owned by the Liberian Government, ArcelorMittal Liberia benefits the country on many fronts, including job creation, revenue generation, socio-economic development, and community development projects. Investing in the country and sharing the values of the communities where it operates are important priorities for the business.
During a recent visit to the Ministry of Labor, AML CEO Jozephus (Joep) Coenen highlighted that “ArcelorMittal Liberia is a company on the move…expanding into Phase Two of its operations in Liberia which will significantly ramp up the production of premium iron ore, generating significant new jobs and wider economic benefits and opportunities for Liberians”.
ArcelorMittal Liberia committed to local Liberian talent
Part of ArcelorMittal Liberia’s allure stems from the fact that it is an equal-opportunity employer. The company is strongly committed to attracting and developing local Liberian talent. The goal is to enable these individuals to take control of their careers through ArcelorMittal Liberia’s world-class mining, training, and business facilities. Furthermore, the company provides free access to medical services for its employees along with their dependents.
Coenen went on to address Minister Charles Gibson and other ranking officials of the Labor Ministry about the company’s plans to expand its operations in the country. The expansion project is to the tune of US$1 billion and encompasses processing, rail, and port facilities. It is touted to be one of the largest mining projects in West Africa.
CEO Coenen said, “central to the expansion phase is the Concentrator which is being constructed at AML’s mining site. The Concentrator will beneficiate and add greater value to Liberia Iron Ore and would be a new plant with technologies new to the Liberian mining industry”.
The aforementioned US$1 billion expansion project is likely to be the biggest Foreign Direct Investment of President Weah’s administration. It is expected to create over 2000 new jobs for young Liberians this year. Job creation is also likely to continue across the construction period of the concentrator over the course of the next three years.
ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Vocational Training Institute will train Liberians
In tandem with the company’s business strategy, a lot of investment has also been directed towards training. This is achieved via ArcelorMittal Liberia’s state-of-the-art Vocational Training Institute. In conjunction with its external network, the institute trains and prepares Liberians in highly technical skills associated with operating complex technology like the concentrator.
The new amendment to the company’s MDA will offer more benefits for the three operational counties of Bong, Nimba, and Grand Bassa. Annual County Social Development Fund payments are expected to increase to $3.5 million after the amendment is ratified.
ArcelorMittal Liberia currently contributes to government revenues through royalties, taxes, and duties. When Phase 2 is ramped up, this contribution is expected to increase from $30-40 million annually to approximately $75 million annually.
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It is important to note that Liberia will have to attract foreign expertise in order to take care of current operations. By the time this talent pool of skilled foreigners has trained the local population, Liberians themselves would have developed the requisite technical acumen to take over the relevant roles from expatriates.
Whilst talking about health and safety, Coenen also pointed out that – as a global industry leader in steel and mining – ArcelorMittal was a front-runner in promoting safe, healthy, and quality working lives for its workforce. The company’s sites are certified as per the international health and safety standard OHSAS 18001 to ensure the quality of its management systems.
Coenen elaborated that the company hopes to create a culture of shared vigilance. This would ensure that risks are understood and monitored, best practices are shared, and appropriate action is taken at every level.
According to Coenen, the company’s employees undergo regular training in relevant fatality prevention standards. These can potentially range from working at height to isolation. Furthermore, ArcelorMittal Liberia ensures that every visitor on its premises follows the organization’s ‘10 Life Saving Golden Rules’.
In his closing remarks, Coenen noted that ArcelorMittal Liberia had many stakeholders, including local communities where the company operates and its operating partners. While the company values the strong interest and views of all stakeholders, it also believes in providing the relevant facts and running a transparent and accountable operation.