The Chief Executive Officer of ArcelorMittal Liberia, Rajesh Goel has assured the country of his Company's preparedness to ship the first consignment of 4 million tons of iron ore from Liberia to other parts of the world in June, 2011. Mr. Goel told a team of journalists last week in Yekepa, Nimba County that ArcelorMittal is pleased to contribute to the economic growth of the country and so by June 2011 the first load of 4 million tons would be shipped while the company is expected to ship 50 million tons of iron ore from Liberia by the year 2115. During a tour of ArcelorMittal facilities in Grand Bassa, Bong and Nimba Counties, it was observed that the company has restored all of the railroads through which the iron ore would be shipped from Yekepa through the Port of Buchanan.
It can be recalled that prior to the Liberian civil crisis, iron ore in the country was mined and managed by the Liberia-America Mining Company (LAMCO), but all of its operations seized as the result of the 1990 civil crisis that erupted in the country. Since then, mining operations in the country was at standstill for the past 20 years until the arrival of ArcelorMittal in 2010. The arrival of ArcelorMittal in the country also restored the hope of several citizens its operations in the country would have created avenues for job employment.
Earlier, the Project Director of ArcelorMittal, John Ross Lockerbie told the journalists that the company has constructed six modern markets, 12 hand pump wells, as well as schools and hospitals in Grand Bassa, Bong and Nimba Counties. He said the Company has also employed over 5,000 persons including 4,800 Liberians. At the same time, the Chief Executive Officer Rajesh Goel stated that since the company started its operations in April 2010, they have been faced with numerous challenges in terms of professionals. He said there are shortages of experienced and qualified persons and that they need to improve their facilities.
Seated on Mt. Tokadeh, which is about 700 ft. above sea level in Yekepa, Mr. Goel quickly pointed out that those challenges are in no way obstacles to their operations in the country because they have already completed the documentation of all compensation payments for communities in and around the mines in Nimba County. According to him, the first and second consignments of equipment for the shipping are already at the Freeport of Monrovia and that the iron ore wagons that were available at Yekepa are being refurbished by a US based company progress rails, a subsidiary of caterpillar.
Mr. Goel further stated that all of the required materials for the work are already in Buchanan and the work will commence in the first week of February 2011. He also stated that all equipment for material handling and ship-loading have been ordered and will arrive in February. The ArcelorMittal Chief Executive Officer explained that in line with the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA), his Company has paid all outstanding social commitment, including US$3 million for community development fund, US$200,000 for mining and geology investment and US$ 100,000 for scientific and research project at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy. During the tour, journalists were afforded the opportunity to visit the fully equipped 50-room hospital in Yekepa.(sourced:TheInquirer)