LIBERIA: ArcelorMittal Liberia Creating Job & Growth Opportunities for Liberians

Chief Executive officer for ArcelorMittal Liberia Jozephus Coenen

With a rapidly growing workforce of nearly 3,000 employees and contractors, there’s little doubt about ArcelorMittal Liberia being a top-rated employer in Liberia with over 95% of its workforce being Liberians. Not only that, but ArcelorMittal Liberia also prides itself of being a company with one of the best paying rates in the country and continues to invest in programs to enrich the working experience of its staff.

A company with part Liberian Government ownership, ArcelorMittal Liberia maintains a partnership with the Liberian government that benefits the country on all fronts, including jobs, revenue generation, social economic development, extensive community development projects, etc. The company believes that investing in Liberia and sharing the value of its operations with the country and the communities where it operates is an important priority for the business.

Since the inception of its operations in Liberia, AML continues to create new opportunities for thousands of Liberian families, ensuring that they have food on their tables and contribute to the development of their country. These are made possible through the high-paying quality jobs AML offers and its policy to promote local industries through the purchase of Liberian goods and acquisition of local services.

During a recent visit to the Ministry of Labor, AML CEO Jozephus (Joep) Coenen, underscored that “ArcelorMittal Liberia is an equal opportunity employer with a strong commitment to attracting and developing local Liberian talents, and setting them up for career exploits through our world class mining, training, and business facilities”.

The CEO asserted, “ArcelorMittal’s recruitment processes begin with a thorough scan of the Liberian job market for qualified Liberians for qualified Liberians with high potential to join our dynamic workforce”. Amongst the many attractive benefits for its employees, ArcelorMittal Liberia provides free access to medical services for its employees along with their dependents. The free medical services include hospital visits, surgical services, dental, and reimbursements for visits to the Optometrists (eye doctors to examine, diagnose, and treat patients’ eyes), as well as accommodations or more than commensurable monthly housing allowance for staff who have not yet been assigned company housing unit.

Nevertheless, the CEO averred, “ArcelorMittal Liberia is a company on the move…expanding into Phase Two of its operations in Liberia which will significantly ramp up the production of premium iron ore, generating significant new jobs and wider economic benefits and opportunities for Liberians”.

The AML CEO also briefed Minister Charles Gibson and other ranking officials of the Labor Ministry about plans to expand the company’s operations.  He emphasized that the more than US$1 billion project encompasses processing, rail, and port facilities and would be one of the largest mining projects in West Africa.

CEO Coenen said “central to the expansion phase is the Concentrator which is being constructed at AML’s mining site. The Concentrator will beneficiate and add greater value to Liberia Iron Ore and would be a new plant with technologies new to the Liberian mining industry”.

The more than one billion USD expansion project by ArcelorMittal Liberia is the biggest Foreign Direct Investment of President Weah’s administration and it is expected that such a project would be given serious priority and the support needed, especially given that it is being done by a company with a strong track record of commitment and partnership with Liberia even in very difficult times.

Speaking further, Joep said that as a result of the expansion project over 2000 new jobs especially for young Liberians are being created this year and extending into the next three years of the construction period of the concentrator.

The concentrator plant and expansion will create about 1200 permanent new skilled positions for Liberians as the plant is planned to be commissioned in 2023, even though this timeline is being seriously impacted by the prolonging of the AML MDA ratification process.

Aligned with the company’s business strategy, investment in training for Liberians is already in full swing, utilizing its state-of-the-art Vocational Training Institute and its external network to train and prepare more Liberians to meet demands for the highly technical skills associated with operating a complex technology as the concentrator.

The new amendment to the company’s MDA also offers increased benefits for its three operational counties of Bong, Nimba, and Grand Bassa.

Annual County Social Development Fund payments will increase up to $3.5 million after the amendment is ratified.

ArcelorMittal Liberia’s contribution to Government revenues (from royalties, taxes, duties, etc), will increase from the current level of $30-40 million annually to approximately $75 million annually when Phase 2 is ramped up.

With this, the reality is, the country would have to borrow foreign expertise to operate and train Liberians for a period, after which Liberians would have developed the technical proficiency and will take over these roles that are filled by expatriates.

Talking about health and safety, Mr. Coenen said that as a global industry leader in steel and mining, ArcelorMittal is a front-runner in promoting safe, healthy, and quality working lives for its workforce. To ensure the quality of our management systems, our sites are certified to the international health and safety standard, OHSAS 18001.

He said the company aims to create a culture of shared vigilance in which risks are understood and monitored, best practices are shared, and appropriate action is taken at every level. Our employees, Coenen said, undergo regular training in relevant fatality prevention standards, ranging from working at height to isolation. We ensure that every visitor to a site follows our 10 Life Saving Golden Rules.

The AML CEO closed by noting that AML is a company with many stakeholders including its communities and operating partners.  While it values the strong interest and views of all stakeholders, the spokesperson said that in an era of distortions and alternative truth where misinformation and disinformation can easily suffice for truth, the company also believes in providing the facts and running a transparent and accountable operation, as a responsible partner to Liberia.

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