ArcelorMittal, the fifteen years leading private sector investor in Liberia seems fast approaching the fulfillment of its objectives.
Embedded in its Phase II Expansion is the ambitious construction of a mega iron ore processing plant at its Nimba mine.
A recent visit to the construction site shows massive work ongoing at a plant expected to be dedicated in the latter part of 2023.
Heavy-duty machines can be seen moving materials from one end of the open-air field to another as construction work moves far above the ground, with huge logistics stockpiles.
It is the construction of the first post-war iron ore processing plant that would add value to the current grade of ore ArcelorMittal Liberia is shipping to Europe.
Engineers say the plant will consist of a vibrating feeder, jaw crusher, cone crusher, impact crusher, vibrating screen, belt conveyor, electric control panel, dust removal equipment, etc.
Given that the quality of ore currently mined in Nimba is low, ArcelorMittal is building the iron ore beneficiation plant as a solution that can help its mine operators convert millions of tons of low-grade iron ore into high-value saleable products.
In AML’s original Phase 2 expansion plan, the company agreed with the Government of Liberia to invest up to $1.2 billion to construct 15 million tons of concentrate capacity and associated infrastructure.
This project was however delayed due to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa in 2014 coupled with the global COVID outbreak.
Despite the project delays and ensuing rapid deterioration of iron ore prices, ArcelorMittal in 2022 assessed options and decided to progress with the phase two project.
Since then, there has been a huge logistical movement for the construction of the ore plant and other logistics that can enable production to move up to 15 tons and then 30 tons per annual.
Phase 2 will essentially move production away from “Direct Shipping Ore”, a process in which the ore is mined and shipped in its natural state.