The Tokadeh Iron Ore mine in Nimba County, which is the operational site of ArcelorMittal, may soon be a scene of unrest, as the management of the Engineers and Planners (E&P), has vowed to do whatever it can to remove its equipment from the mine.
E&P is a company contracted by ArcelorMittal to carry out mining activities at this site.
The situation is reportedly a result of the alleged failure of ArcelorMittal’s management to fully settle E&P for services they rendered the steel giant.
Both E&P and ArcelorMittal are in a contractual agreement, which comes to an end on the 31st of December, 2013.
According to E&P’s Human Resource Manager, Harrison Agama, his company has been prevented from taking its mining equipment from the operation site by authorities of ArcelorMittal on several occasions. As a result, the cost incurred to E&P’s management is accrueing on a daily basis, Agama stated.
The E&P HR Manager said ArcelorMittal’s refusal to allow the company to bring its equipment to Monrovia is a total violation of its rights of movement and possession of properties.
Mr. Agama said the situation is also hampering his company financially, as E&P management spends US$1,500 daily for the trailer hired to bring the equipment to Monrovia.
The management of ArcelorMittal, through its Yekepah operations site Communication Manager, Jerry Mwagbe, denied ever obstructing E&P from taking its equipment from the warehouse at the Tokadeh mine.
Mr. Mwagbe told journalists at his office in Yekepa that ArcelorMittal has always paid E&P Company timely in line with the terms of the contract and that payment is being made within 30 days once a bill is received but failed to tell the newsmen how much money ArcelorMittal owes E&P Company if indeed they own E&P.
Mr. Mwagbe added that ArcelorMittal Liberia plans to transition all E&P employees into ArcelorMittal Liberia, a process which he said started in November 2013 and is expected to be completed by December 31, 2013, when all E&P employees will become ArcelorMittal Liberia employees.
However, an internal source told the Daily Observer that ArcelorMittal is taking action against E&P due to its failure to meet certain agreements between the two parties.
The ArcelorMittal source, who asked for anonymity, said that until E&P repairs all of the equipment provided to them by ArcelorMittal, they will not take their equipment from the mine and may not get money due them for December.
The source also rebuffed rumors that ArcelorMittal owes E&P millions of US dollars that have been accumulating over several months as has been reported in the media.
The source also noted that ArcelorMittal has paid every cent due E&P and the only outstanding money is for this December, which is yet to come to an end.
But the project manager of E&P, Felix Baanye said that ArcelorMittal is using the equipment issue as an alibi for not paying the millions owed E&P.
Some of the 189 local employees of E&P, who have been allegedly absorbed into ArcelorMittal’s workforce, are calling on the government to intervene in the ongoing fracas between the two companies.
The employees, who asked that their names be withheld due to fear, said that they do not know where their futures lie with this ongoing saga.