ArcelorMittal Intensifying Mining At Yekepa?

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Train with load of ore from Yekepa on Thursday, March 8, 2018

There is growing concern amongst workers of ArcelorMittal and citizens of Nimba about the recent intensification of mining operations by Arcelor Mittal, since the Weah administration took seat in January this year, as to what benefits the company is leaving for the citizens and the communities at large for the mining of ore.

The movement of ore trains have increased rapidly, since Mittal began mining “Mount Gangra”, one of the virgin mountains within the concession area.

With the lack of tangible infrastructural development and after the abandonment of construction of the Ganta to Yekepa Road under the erstwhile Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration, some citizens and organizations are worrying about the benefits the county will get, if all the mountains within the concession are mined and depleted.

According to ArcelorMittal mine workers, iron ore mined from that mountain is 70% pure ore, that doesn’t require washing before shipment

“What will we show to our children tomorrow, when all of these mountains within this concession are mined and depleted,” wondered P. Luogon Lah, head of the Nimba NGOs Network. “Imagine the operation at the mine appears to be intensifying, as the movement of trains have increased more rapidly than before, but where do we stand, when our stretch of road from Ganta to Yekepa cannot be paved as promised,” he said.

Some of the Liberian mine workers, who asked not want to be named, are among those worrying about the current escalation of mining operations at the newly opened Mount Gangra. There, according to them, iron ore mined from that mountain is 70% pure ore, that doesn’t require washing before shipment.

“We are not receiving our due benefits, based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement we reached with company last year. No overtime pay, our salaries do not come on time, they’ve cut down the feeding aspect,” he said.

“Despite these, the company has intensified operations at Mount Gangra, where the mountain has been mined almost to valley level,” said one of the caterpillar operators,” who requested anonymity.

These developments according to a former LAMCO employee (name withheld) are alarming and should claim the attention of the authorities. He said ArcerlorMittal has laid off many employees on grounds that the world market price of iron ore has dropped drastically, making it unprofitable to continue mining. Yet, the company has intensified ore production and are even exporting ever increasing volume of iron ore which, in his opinion, is self contradictory.

ArcelorMittal locomotives have been very active since the Weah administration took seat in January, 2018

He said what the people of Nimba are now facing is no different from that experienced by the people of Bomi County, whose extremely rich deposits of iron ore have been depleted, leaving the people languishing in poverty and misery. He especially decried  the influx of aliens into the country purposely to engage in illegal mining activities from which local communities do not benefit at all.

Currently, according to media reports, thousands of foreigners, mostly West Africans, are descending on the country in hunt for precious minerals especially gold. Representative George Boley from Grand Gedeh county has expressed alarm at the growing presence of hundreds of illegal miners and the immeasurable damage their activities are causing to the environment.

According to Representative Boley, the illegal miners are destroying the forests, poisoning rivers, creeks and other water resources with dangerous chemicals which they use to extract gold. According to him, the situation is alarming and because nothing is being done about it. He said he decided to raise the matter before the House plenary with the view to having the legislative body take corrective action.

It is however not known when the body is going to act and what form their action is going to take.

8 COMMENTS

  1. The rails should be first of all inspected by Liberian Geologists and Geophysicists accompanied by joint Nimba and Grand Gedeh Representatives with the Ministry of Defense protection along these lines of Gold and ore. Look at these sides filled with bushes. These mining companies are responsible for providing machines to cleaning grass and trees on both sides of the rails to prevent alluvial natural destruction, putting rocks further from the tracks, during the dry and rainy seasons. No more credit as LAMCO still owes me some share money. On the mining trail, the inspection should bring more employment for locals. As for Arcelor mittal, they will have no alternative but to face the wash when they rich the seaports for export because the 25% tax increment and 10% aluminum soon to be imposed by major exports as to the United States, will soon effect the world on steel. The Liberian generation of tomorrow will soon start watching the price of Atlantic ocean trade before import and export. As for mineral mining as stones, gold, and diamond, for example, not strange but rich in the Gedeh area, those now elected by their people are beginning to feel the benefits of securing their own resources. No rush. Keep our own. When the time comes we will get. No more gimmicks. avoid the fight and claim what is ours. Do not answer my box. Let the Liberian people know.
    I am in silence.

  2. The United States of America’s steel industry is capacity full especially with export from Liberian iron ore. Past and present Liberian administrations might have had some uncertainty on price, but Liberia being an ally of the U.S., the sea taxes (tariffs) generated from the 25% and 15% will help the Liberian money (currency) worthiness. Reason they should have made better deals Liberian resources, for instance, for steel and rubber. We should in this process worry more about exchanging our currency with the United States and be faster in return steel dollars to owners. The demand for steel will jump sky high, regards the short or long run with Liberian GDP on the increase to benefit infrastructural development instead the crave by some for personal luxury in Liberia. Liberian iron ore reserves will be maintained need for rush exports will become less, with possession of future generation secured. Technology in the form of hard steel products have modernized and contemporary digital needs extremely in command will weight China in. Liberia’s iron has no impact on the hustle of nations for EU-US dollars. Experts who have predicted wrongly on the downturn have no knowledge of the capacity of Liberian steel stock at the United States piles wish still has some 20% or more partial commitment in Liberian shares and may not see the quantity unless they have some interest as actual Americans or factual Liberians. Find your own figures to support these facts because the resources of Liberia is not a theory go and come study subject. Rather it is a secret heritage for Liberians only; an intangible practical reserve. Similar to Oil now discovered in Liberia, which if proper secured and managed will reduce our dependence on Nigerian gas and Banking activities. Tell the Liberia nation. Do not answer my Box otherwise you will pay something.
    Gone for some time to silent majority.

  3. For Liberia. the cost of mining in terms of “Human Lives and Environmental and Ecological damages, far outweighs the “Net Benefits”. Hon. Boley; thanks! For taking up this issue. Liberia is being systematically DESTROYED.

  4. Is it possible for transparency to occur in carrying African resources where we are disadvantaged due to bad governance n Western supremacy in the control of our resources prices…..it is low when they need them n it is high when we need the finished products…

  5. All of the Chinese Silica industries along the River beds are involve in illegal mining activities under the Umbrella of some major corrupt Political elites ……” Mining is politically motivated in Liberia…..A call from the Top ” my interest”……Cry Mama Liberia

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