If nothing good has been said about the nearly 16 years of its operations in Liberia, one thing that irrefutably stands out about ArcelorMittal its commitment in filling all financial commitments in taxes, royalties, and County Social Development Fund to the government of Liberia and the company host communities.
Despite this sterling show of deep commitment to the government of Liberia, and through the county social development funds, to Nimba, Bassa and Bong counties, AML has gone far beyond to directly make hefty contributions to many development initiatives in those counties; particularly, Nimba and Grand Bassa.
AML has not just to a greater extend recruited citizens from its host communities, it has intentionally placed these Liberians into senior managerial roles and trained them to make a difference in their communities and elsewhere.
Since the signing of its first Mineral Development Agreement with Liberian authorities, a practice ArcelorMittal has never defaulted on is to involve the communities affected by its operation into activities through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs.
While the company is mandated to do a number of things under its contract with Government of Liberia, most of its community development activities account for voluntary actions that are helping to benefit the communities directly and indirectly involved with is mining operations.
ArcelorMittal has been increasingly ramping up its focus on social responsibility, whether it has and continue to champion health delivery, protecting the environment, or attempting to reduce poverty, on the local, national levels.
From an optics perspective, AML has managed herself as a socially responsible company, projecting over the years more attractive images to both Liberia and outside world alike, which serves to positively affect the company’s bottom lines.
For example, the company has paid more than US$45 million in county social development funds, yet it built more than 50 hand pumps in villages in Nimba.
AML has helped to recondition several kilometer of roads in Buchanan, and contributed to education, health and different kinds of community development including for the first time paving the road from Ganta to Yekepa.
Outside of its agreement with Liberia, the global steel giant is gearing up dedicate the first public health facility in Gbapa, not to mention the relocation of the GW Harley Hospital in Sanniquellie and its contribution to the Mining and Geology department at the Nimba University.
Recently the company launched a massive local community scholarship scheme children residing in communities directly affected by its activities.
These are clear undertakings that show that with the second phase (Phase Two Expansion), ArcelorMittal is poised to deliver more in corporate social good to the people of Liberia.
There is honestly an opportunity for people in the communities and the government to benefit more given that they are in good hands of a company with demonstrated record of giving back.
With this phase two expansion, operation has deepened at the port of Buchanan where there will be increase in manpower and an upward movement in government revenue.
In Places like Buchanan and Nimba where employment and job opportunities are so difficult to finds, expansion of port operations and the construction of a mega iron ore processing plant are central to delivering jobs that can put food on the table for scores of families that are languishing in poverty and suffering.
With AML’s Phase Two expansion it is safe to submit that additional provision of socio-economic benefits to the people of Liberia is assured.
Employees and local communities stand to gain more jobs, local procurement and community projects as national government receives royalties, taxes and better investment portfolio that position the country so well in the global mining community