Local leaders and residents of several towns and villages along the once abandoned and impassable stretch of road from Makinto Town to Sanniquellie in Nimba County are celebrating the completion of the full rehabilitation of the 11.1-kilometer road by ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML).
The stretch of road which connects many other towns and villages starts from the company’s Yekepa concession gate to Makinto, through Sehyi-Geh Town, and Gborpa to Sanniquellie city. Costing nearly $60,000 (sixty-thousand US dollars), the rebuilding of the road was carried out as part of AML’s community outreach initiatives.
Scores of residents of the area expressed gratitude to the team of AML engineers, employees, and volunteers headed by Mine Infrastructure Manager, Edgar Nunes, who undertook the timely intervention. Assisted by the supervision of two Liberian staff, Mine Infrastructure Superintendent, Raymond Mambor, and Road Supervisor, Byron Dahn, the team, took two months to complete the road rehabilitation.
Residents of the communities lauded the management of AML for its farsightedness to have them reconnected with a passable motor road. They observed that the reconstructed road relieves them of increased travel time, high transportation costs, and other challenges.
Patrick P. Weanquoi, the Zonal Chief of Sehyi-Geh, and five other surrounding towns said they were happy because AML say their need and gave assistance to have their road opened and reconditioned.
With the reconditioning of their road, Weanquoi said they will not face difficulties transporting their farm produce to the market in Sanniquellie, and they would travel to and from Sanniquellie and nearby towns faster and safely.
“We have long been crying for the rehabilitation of this road. It is a shorter road for us to travel to Sanniquellie. We have happy for ArcelorMittal to fix the road as they have done. They have shown that they care about us. So, I take this time to tell them [ArcelorMittal], thank you.”
Another local official, Emmanuel Zangbay said by rehabilitating their road, AML has shown a true commitment to sustaining cordial relationships with communities near its mining operations.
“Our major source of income is our farms. So, by connecting our various towns and farms, and can easily transport our goods to the market, we are very grateful to you [ArcelorMittal],” Zangbay expressed.
The majority of residents in most areas rely on motorcycles as the means to get from one point to another. Commercial motorcyclists plying the route were also grateful for AML’s intervention.
“Right now, the road is super, and we take between five and ten minutes to travel between Sanniquellie and Makinto,” said Melvin Paye, a commercial motorcyclist on the stretch of the road recently rehabilitated by AML.
A local youth leader, Emmanuel Lablah has at the same described the rehabilitation of their road as the dawning of a new day, for them. Lablah expressed gratitude to AML and encouraged youths of surrounding towns to protect AML’s investment, as the company was working in their interest.
“We want to give them a mandate that what you were not expecting you see it going on. You must be appreciative and protect the work of the people who are doing this,” he said.
Serenah Gbartoe, a farmer also added her voice to the community leaders in praising ArcelorMittal for helping to address the challenge of access to farm and market roads. Gbartoe said as the rainy season is fast approaching, there was no better time for the rehabilitation of the road, than now.
As part of its corporate social responsibility programs, ArcelorMittal Liberia regularly rehabilitates community roads in counties where it operates and undertakes other important social development projects in education, healthcare, agriculture, livelihood, etc.
With the expansion of its mining operations in Liberia, comes major benefits to its communities and Liberia in general.
ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Phase Two expansion project will significantly ramp up the production of premium iron ore, generating significant new jobs and wider economic benefits for Liberia.