Security Concerns Mount as Boima Morgan Leads Disruptions at ArcelorMittal Operational Sites in Nimba County

There are calls for calm as the actions of controversial figure, Boima Morgan disrupts work of ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) in in Nimba County. Staff were forced to evacuate from the mines and there are security concerns for the nearby mining communities. There are reports that the company is working with local authorities to ease ongoing tensions.

Reports indicate Boima Morgan has orchestrated efforts to obstruct AML operations at all three mine sites including Tokadeh, Gangra, and Yuelliton – as well as at the Blei and Detton Exploration Area, formerly known as the Solway area.

Over the weekend of May 4th and 5th, Boima is said to have organized three busloads of people, paying each individual up to $50 to travel to Monrovia and protest against ArcelorMittal at the Legislature.

Pictures and videos from one of the mine communities show dozens of citizens being loaded on a yellow bus.

This move has raised questions about the motivations behind Boima’s actions and the potential consequences for the community, the company, and investment in Liberia.

On Monday morning, May 6th, tensions reached a boiling point as those paid by Boima and others, under his direction, deployed traditional ‘country devil’ at ArcelorMittal mines.

The devils erected makeshift roadblocks at major entrances to the mines and Blei-Detton exploration areas preventing the movement of people, vehicles, and equipment.

These disruptions have hampered operations and raised concerns about the safety of personnel and the broader community in the Nimba mining areas.

Efforts by local authorities to intervene and negotiate with the protesters have so far yielded limited success.

Despite initial agreements, the protesters have remained steadfast, intensifying their presence and stalling the operations at the mines.

They attempted to enter the Blei-Detton camp but were met with resistance from security and the Liberia National Police.

Reports say the situation continues to escalate, and that the Minister of Internal Affairs has dispatched Chief Zoe from Grand Bassa County to engage with the protesters to resolve the situation..

As the situation unfolds, all stakeholders closely monitor the developments and hope for a swift resolution that prioritizes the safety and well-being of all involved.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy under the administration of former President Sirleaf granted an iron ore exploration permit to Mount Bele Resources on Blei Community Forest land, as well as a permit to process iron ore tailings in the southwestern portion of the Barcoline community in Nimba County—an area where Solway operates today.

Upon the discovery that the area had previously been allocated to ArcelorMittal Liberia, President Sirleaf commissioned a high-level investigation and, acting under the instruction of Sirleaf, Minister Patrick Sendolo canceled the exploration permit, and those who issued the same license were dismissed. This revocation stemmed from the fact that their concession area overlapped with the original LAMCO Concession, which was later granted to ArcelorMittal Liberia during the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf era.

Mount Bele Resources subsequently pursued legal action, taking their case to the ECOWAS Court of Justice in 2019 after their exploration license was revoked but the court dismissed the claim and the company left Liberia.

Maps and documents available indicate that the same area was later granted an exploration permit by the Weah-led administration to SOLWAY Mining Group—a move that Boima Margan has long claimed ownership of.

According to maps and diagrams of the area, SOLWAY is encroaching upon the Blei Concession area, totaling 5574 hectares, which was tied to the claim during the Sirleaf era when an iron ore exploration permit was allegedly given to Mount Bele Resources and subsequently canceled due to encroachment on AML’s concession area.

When the CDC government assumed power in 2018, individuals who had been previously dismissed by President Sirleaf assumed leadership roles within the Ministry of Mines and Energy, and subsequently, Solway was again granted an exploration license in the same area.

In 2022, ArcelorMittal wrote to the Weah-led government, urging them to revoke the mineral exploration license issued to Solway Mining Group, citing violations of their Mineral Development Agreement signed with the government. However, the government disregarded ArcelorMittal’s request until it was defeated in 2023.

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