ArcelorMittal Liberia given three-week ultimatum
-Amidst strike and protests at its Buchanan offices
By: Emmanuel wise Jipoh
Arcelor Mittal Liberia has been given three weeks ultimatum to address concerns raised by citizens of Grand Bassa County as it relates to the Mineral Development Agreement signed by the company, this paper has learned.
The ultimatum was said to have been given by the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Citizens of Grand Bassa on Monday, May 22, staged a protest blocking entries and exits to the Arcelor Mittal Liberia’s premises demanding the company live up to the MDA, part of which would have seen the company build a Washing Plant in the county to create jobs for locals.
The citizens on Monday also burned tires on the railroads and stopped the movement of trains, while demanding answers from the company.
The washing plant in question was moved to neighboring Nimba County for construction, something the citizens of Bassa find very appalling and demanding answers.
They claimed that authorities at Arcelor Mittal Liberia Buchanan offices have refused to dialogue with them.
However, following the protest on Monday, authorities at the company and representatives of the Liberian Government through the National Bureau of Concessions reached a consensus to dialogue with the citizens to find an amicable solution and answer to their concerns.
On Tuesday, citizens continued their protest when a meeting with company officials and authorities at the county’s administrative building ended in deadlock.
The meeting was disrupted after citizens were informed by the Director General of the National Bureau of Concessions Atty. Edwin N. Dennis the washing plant will no longer be constructed in Grand Bassa County, instead of Nimba County.
Atty Dennis, it was a decision taken by the Government in compliance with the MDA for Arcelor Mittal to construct the disputed plant in Nimba County, while other aspects of the MDA which include the construction of schools and clinics will be done in both counties.
At least six citizens were arrested and detained in Police custody on Tuesday, but police later restored calm while Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf at the meeting assured citizens that the Government is doing everything possible to address the matter.