The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has placed a fine of US$110,000 on ArcelorMittal Liberia for several breaches of the environmental laws and pollution of a water body in Nimba County.
The fine come as a result of a technical hearing with ArcelorMittal during which the company acknowledged its missteps and expressed a commitment to remedy the situation and take actions that would avoid further occurrences.
EPA release stated that ArcelorMittal Liberia has being found liable for its continued failure to notify the EPA of a major change in its project which posed a significant threat to the environment and human health. This, violates Part III, Section 26 (a & b) of the Environmental Protection and Management Law (EPML).
The fine for such a violation is US$10,000, five years imprisonment or both .ArcelorMittal also failed to heed the corrective actions dated 27 June 2021 mandating the acquisition of an environmental permit for the operation of its Wastewater Treatment Plant, and Effluent Discharge. This violation warrants a fine of US$25,000, 10 years imprisonment, or both.The company is also being found liable for deliberate and unlawful discharge of raw water sewage into wetland comprising the ecological integrity of the wetland and nearby river basin, a fine of US$50,000 for this violation has been added.
Additionally, ArcelorMittal was caught using an explosive magazine without a permit from the EPA. This also warranted a fine of US$25,000.
The EPA stated it is further pleased to remind ArcelorMittal that the violations for which it is being fined are similar to violations found during the Compliance Monitoring conducted by the Agency on the operations of ArcelorMittal on 22 September 2018.
It can be recalled in 27 July 2021, the Agency outlined in its communication, series of violations found during a Compliance Monitoring and Compliance audit of ArcelorMittal operations conducted earlier. Although there were made efforts to correct the situation, the general size of environmental footprint has worsened over the period. Against this, it is required of ArcelorMittal to do full remediation and restoration of the damaged environment identified in the report referenced. The restoration must be done by a third-party, EPA-certified environmental consultant while the EPA shall approve the restoration plans and ensure the implementation of the said undertaking.