ArcelorMittal has being summoned by the Government of Liberia for allegedly defaulting in the concession agreement signed between it and the Government. The default has been going out for more than three years, a senior government official noted.
According to Mr. Nathaniel McGill, the Minister for State and Presidential Affairs, the company has reneged on its social responsibility of constructing and paving the Ganta-to-Yekepa road and install an iron ore processing plant, which will produce iron from ore extracted from the mines in Liberia.
“Mittal Steel has to come to tell us why it has not done the things they said they will do. Why they haven’t installed the ore plant and paved the road they promised to pave in the concession agreement. We have invited them and they will be meeting with the government legal team headed by Cllr. Musa Dean, the Justice Minister,” Mr. McGill disclosed.
In 2005, ArcelorMittal and the Liberian Government signed the first Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) to allow the company to begin mining iron ore in Yekepa, Nimba County. This agreement was then renegotiated and amended in 2006.
The MDA carries stringent conditions regarding sustainable development and economic, social and environmental investment. Its aim is to ensure that, while foreign companies are able to generate a profit from their investment in the extraction of Liberia’s resources, the country and its citizens must benefit as well.
Among other things, it stipulates that ArcelorMittal contributes US$3 million a year to the county social development fund for Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa Counties. This money, which covers the 25-year expected life-of-mine will total US$75 million and will be used to drive community development projects that will uplift and improve the lives of local people.
The company is also required to establish and maintain medical and education facilities in all areas of operation, to serve employees, their families and the broader community, and to prioritize the employment and development of Liberians.