By: Elton Tiah
Monrovia: A grassroot Community mobilization group in Grand Bassa County says it has started a one month community awareness on ArcelorMittal’s second expansion.
The group of young people who are under the banner Citizens United to Serve Humanity (CUSH) at a news conference in Buchanan on Wednesday said they will initiate a series of public sensitization activities in communities affected by ArcelorMittal’s mining activities.
“CUSH will also hold radio talk shows and intellectual forum discussions to explain the benefits of AML’s Phase Two Expansion”.
The communities targeted include, Moore Town, Charlie Johnson Town, Compound Three, Barsigiah town, etc.
“ArcelorMittal Liberia has begun its phase two expansion project aimed at moving production to 30 tons per annual. The expansion promises to deliver huge economic benefits to Liberia, from the production of a Mega Ore Processing Plant, increase in government revenue through taxes and royalties, as well as contribution to Corporate Social Responsibilities, CUSH said in a statement.
They said Mittal has also planned an additional investment to expand the capacity of the railway and by extension the Port of Buchanan to augment the potential to handle complex, huge logistics movement and increase shipment.
Citizens United to Serve Humanity (CUSH) believes its constructive public dialogue and community engagement meetings on the phase two expansion and implementation will benefit thousands of people in Grand Bassa, to include youth, women, persons with disabilities, local county leaders, community and religious leaders, students, chiefs, etc.
This public initiative seeks to broaden the flow of information and to create mutual relationship between the company and the citizens of Grand Bassa County for present and future benefits of both parties.
As a grassroots organization, CUSH said “we have deemed it ideal to do this because information dissemination is cardinal for the growth and development of any society; sensitizing our people will provide a clearer picture of what AML Phase Two Expansion stands to deliver to the county and country”.
Since being the first investor to enter post war Liberia in 2005, ArcelorMittal has invested billions into the country both for its mining operations and for national development programs.
Over the years, this has included the investment of 500 million for the rehabilitation of the railway from Yekepa and the port facilities in Buchanan, as well as the construction of hospitals and schools in its concession’s areas.
The phase two expansion project was significantly interrupted by the outbreak of Ebola and the Corona Virus Disease, as well as repeated decline in the price of Iron Ore on the world market.
Said CUSH: “the company has now resumed the Phase Two Expansion Project and fully committed to building the Iron Ore Concentrator in Nimba County and expanding the capacity of the railway and the port of Buchanan by an additional investment of US$200 million.
CUSH meanwhile emphasized that it remains committed to sharing information that brings positive change to communities, county, and country at large.