ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Environmental Department in collaboration with a non-governmental organization, Committee for Peace, and Development Advocacy (COPDA), has commenced an Agro Reforestation Program in Bolo village, one of the company’s mining communities.
The project is part of ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Biodiversity Program that is intended to introduce commercial and sustainable farming methods to local farmers and to replant trees in areas of mining operations.
The program, according to AML’s Agronomist Samuel Peter, helps to reduce the pressure subsistence farming poses on the forest, as destroying the vegetation for farming is a recipe for climate change.
At the launch of the Agro Reforestation Program in Bolo recently, Mark Cope, Yuelliton Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) Manager for ArcelorMittal Liberia said that the company is concerned about the environmental impact of mining on the forest and is scaling up action to replant trees impact by mining operations.
Mr. Cope said AML will work with the people of Bolo to ensure that the forest does not vanish but is maintained to host the varieties of animals that use it as their habitat.
Under the Agro Reforestation Project, COPDA with support from AML will open 11.5 hectares of oil palm plantation, 11.5 hectares of Cocoa farm, and 11 hectares of Plantain farm.
The project will also supply rice milling machines, farming tools, seedlings and signs, and rice threshers to the farmers.
Ted Brooks, Project Manager for COPDA, disclosed during the launch of the project that they have on nursery 17,000 seedlings of oil palm, 12,000 seedlings of cocoa, and 17,000 signs of plantain ready to be planted.
Mr. Brooks in a word of appreciation to AML for the support indicated that “This is a dream come true,” noting further that COPDA has conducted a baseline survey for direction and farmers have been organized for the project.
Bolo is situated right under the peak of Yuelliton where mining operation has commenced. One can stand in this village and view the haul road and drilling path leading to the peak of the mountain in the west. To the east-western end is also Gangra, where mining operation has been ongoing over the past years.