The management of ArcelorMittal says the company remains committed to continuing operations in Liberia despite recent damage of some of its properties and facilities in Nimba County.
Bill Scotting, ArcelorMittal’s Executive Vice President and Chief Executive said despite the unfortunate incident, the company has already restarted operations and has no plan of abandoning its commitment to Liberia.
Addressing a joint Mittal Steel and Government of Liberia press conference in Monrovia Tuesday, Mr. Scotting said the company will continuously engage the communities and the county leadership to ensure the realization of its commitment to the county.
The ArcelorMittal Chief Executive said the focus of the management is to ensure that the project is fully operationalized and placed back on track while awaiting the outcome of the ongoing assessment of the damage.
He said the company has already invested over $500 million in Liberia and has no thoughts of withdrawing from the country.
Rioting in the mining town of Yekepa resulted to the destruction of properties belonging to ArcelorMittal and the alleged exchange of gun fire between police and protesters.
Also addressing the conference, Lands, Mines and Energy Minister Patrick Sendolo said the government regrets the incident at the company’s facilities and has since launched probe into the circumstances surrounding the matter.
Minister Sendolo said the government and Mittal Steel management are fully committed to continuing the project and putting in place the necessary corrective measures for the full implementation of the project.
“Specifically, an assessment of the damage on the facilities of ArcelorMittal is currently being undertaken. The Government and ArcelorMittal are committed to receiving a comprehensive report which sets forth the full extent of the damage and the impact that we anticipate that this will have on the existing operations and on the plan for extending the project…” Minister Sendolo said.
He said the company will also be expected to develop a mitigation plan that will examine all of those things that may have been impacted by the riot and both the government and ArcelorMittal will later agree a clear plan of action on collaborative effort aimed at mitigating the problems that have reportedly been created as a result of the incident.
Over 40 persons believed to be protesters were arrested and brought to Monrovia in connection to last week’s protest in Yekepa.