Less than 48 hours after protesters disrupted its mining operations, Arcelor Mittal has resumed production, processing and transporting of iron ore from theTokadi Mines in Nimba County. Full production activities resumed about 18:00 hrs on Saturday when the Direct Shipping Ore Crushing Plant, which was damaged during a rampage on the mining facilities, was repaired by a combination of Liberian and expatriate engineers of the company.
So far, 11,445 metric tons of iron ore, a slight increase over the June average, were confirmed by the Arcelor Mittal Management to have been processed for transport to the Port City of Buchanan by rail.
Arcelor Mittal Operations Manager, Prayaga Prasad, who led Information Minister Lewis Brown and a team of journalists on a tour of the main mining facility on Saturday, disclosed that the company was pleased to continue its activities after order was restored to the mining town by the Liberia National Police.
He pledged his company’s continued support to the development of Liberia, and praised the Liberian Government for its quick response to restore order and security to the mining facility.
In remarks, Information Minister Brown thanked the Management of Arcelor Mittal for retaining faith in the government to continue to provide a secured environment for doing business in Liberia.
He informed the management that like all governments, although the Liberian Government may not be able to stop the commission of all crimes, criminals would not be permitted to operate without the required legal consequences.
“The immediate restoration of order and resumption of production activities in Yekepa signals that although our resolve will be tested by individuals who wish to reverse the progress and taint the image of our country, there are more Liberians and partners of progress who are willing to continue on this important journey to our country’s recovery for shared prosperity, in an environment of peace and security,” Brown said.
The Minister informed the management, staff and employees of Arcelor Mittal that a number of arrests have already been made, and that investigation leading to the prosecution of individuals responsible for the damage and looting of the mining facilities are ongoing.
He assured the management of Arcelor Mittal of government’s continued protection as well as the support and goodwill of all law-abiding citizens.
Meanwhile, Deputy Police Director, A.B. Kromah, who returned from the area yesterday, told this paper that all is now calm and peaceful at the company’s site, as it is now operating.
He said the police has beefed up security and has assured the company to go about its normal business as government remains committed to providing security.
Deputy Director Kromah said that several persons arrested in connection with the violent act are undergoing investigation and that those individuals have been transferred to Monrovia.
He said prior to returning to Monrovia he held a meeting with members of the community and other stakeholders about the security of the area.
In a related development, the Government of Liberia and Arcelor Mittal have expressed their commitment in getting the company’s project back on track following the recent violence in Nimba County.
Addressing a joint news conference late Tuesday evening, Lands, Mines & Energy Minister, Patrick Sandolo and Mr. Bill Scotting, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Arcelor Mittal said despite the vandalizing of the company’s properties and the loss incurred during the incident, Government of Liberia and Arcelor Mittal remain fully committed to engaging the community and other stakeholders constructively in addressing the situation.
Minister Sandolo said Arcelor Mittal’s project in Liberia remains the single largest project in West Africa as the company has planned to employ at least 3,000 Liberians and extend its projects. He, among other things said he Government and Arcelor Mittal are doing everything possible in putting the company’s project on track.