BusinessGeneralInvestmentLiberia news

Country devils lay siege on ArcelorMittal

Protesting masked dancers lay siege to the premises of mining company ArcelorMittal Liberia, demanding social services that have eluded affected communities since operations started in 2006.

By Thomas Domah, Nimba County 

Nimba, Liberia, May 10, 2024 –A large number of country devil or traditional masked dances have been deployed at various mountains and offices operated by ArcelorMittal Liberia in Yekepa, Nimba County, thereby stalling the company’s normal operations.

The aggrieved bush masters are lamenting the poor living conditions of citizens, including a lack of health facilities and safe-drinking water job opportunities, among other things, in the company’s operational areas, which recently amended its mineral development agreement with Liberia.

Residents of affected communities and the country devils are calling on the government not to enter into an additional agreement with AML because it has not impacted their well-being despite extracting natural resources from their areas.

The NEW DAWN gathered that the ongoing protest is the eighth of such disruptions the company has suffered since its operation began in 2008.

Followers of the masked dancers told our correspondent that they will not leave until their demands are met.

Among others, they accused the company of not implementing commitments stipulated in the MDA, which allowed it to commence its first operation, as it seeks additional years to enter phase two of mining activities here.

The country devils moved into Yekepa, the main operational area, and shut down offices, thereby preventing workers and staffers from reporting for work.

Since the incident last, there has been no response from the company and the Government of Liberia.

The masked dancers’ followers said they will not allow the mining company to resume operation until their demands were met. Normal activities have reportedly come to a standstill, preventing the transportation of ores from Yekepa, Nimba County, to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

There has been no death reported since the incident, but workers are said to have taken refuge at unknown locations.

The protesting country devils locked various offices of the company and have keys to those offices.

However, some locales said routine work on the mines is carried out by Indians, Guineans, and Ivorians alongside other foreign nationals.

President Joseph Boakai recently pledged his government’s commitment to signing the amended Mineral Development Agreement after a meeting with Arcelor Mittal Executive Chairman Mr. Lakshmi Mittal at the Executive Mansion in Monrovia.

 “We are very proud of their investment in this country. We are determined to encourage further investment. We know that there are some hurdles along the way, but we are committed to making sure that we resolve them to encourage the investment and that we can find a way forward in the interest of the country and the investors”, President Boakai said. Editing by Jonathan Browne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 × 3 =

Back to top button