ArcelorMittal Withdraws Contractors, Re-commits To Liberia
MONROVIA, August 11 (LINA) - Global steel giant ArcelorMittal says due to the outbreak of the Ebola disease in West Africa, contractors working on the company’s Phase II Expansion Project have declared force majeure and are moving people out of the country.
“We are currently assessing the potential impact on the project schedule,” a press release issued by the company recently said.
In line with its Phase I Plan, the company is currently mining and shipping five million tonnes of iron ore a year from its operations in Yekepa and Buchanan.
Under its Phase II Plan initially scheduled for 2015, the company will make an expansion that will see shipments rise to 15 million tonnes of iron ore.
Meanwhile, in the release issued from its Luxembourg office, ArcelorMittal said it remains fully committed to Liberia and that the intention is to re-start full construction of the Phase 2 project at the earliest opportunity.
It said in the meantime, employees are working to secure equipment and carry out other critical activities related to logistics, engineering and procurement.
“Phase 1 operations continue as normal at this time and to date have not been affected by the situation in Liberia,” the press release said
The release quotes Bill Scotting, chief executive of ArcelorMittal Mining, as saying: “Clearly the priority for Liberia and other affected countries right now is to contain and ultimately stop this current outbreak of Ebola.
“We are providing full support to the Government in this regard and taking every precaution to protect all of our employees on the ground in Liberia. ArcelorMittal has made a long-term commitment to Liberia and we will maintain this commitment.”
The release said while recent developments are “very concerning”, the emergency procedures and other measures developed and currently in place at all ArcelorMittal sites in Liberia make it possible to continue Phase 1 of its operations.
Scotting said ArcelorMittal has taken every precaution to protect its employees and operations, including providing thermo flash scanners to test for fever in all employees and visitors to all ArcelorMittal Liberia locations.
It has also distributed 500 full sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) to ArcelorMittal Liberia hospitals and other hospitals and clinics in Nimba, Buchanan and Monrovia, and providing training to healthcare workers and employees.
According to the release, Ebola awareness sessions were conducted by a leading Ebola prevention and control expert, and an infectious disease nurse has been brought to Liberia to serve as ArcelorMittal Liberia’s in-house expert and is working closely with the ArcelorMittal hospital teams.