By Thomas Domah,Nimba County
Montserrado County Senator Saah Joseph, who led a Senate delegation over the weekend to ArcelorMittal Liberia’s operational areas in Yekepa, Nimba County, has expressed disappointment in the company for abandoning affected communities.
Senator Joseph pointed to the lack of housing and health facilities, schools, and other basic human needs in communities adjacent to mines operated by the company.
Serving also as the Senate Chair on Executive, Senator Joseph told local journalists that during the tour, the delegation observed that ArcelorMittal that seeks an extension of its 25 years operations in the country, is yet to improve basic social services, including paved road network and schools, among others.
The Plenary of the Liberian Senate in November constituted a specialized committee to visit the operational areas of Arcelormettal Liberia on fact findings.
The six-man committee includes the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Executive Saah H. Joseph, Sen. Jeremiah Koung, Sen. Abraham Darius Dillon, Sen. Jonathan Boycharles Sogbe of Rivergee County, Sen. Augustine Chea of Sinoe County, and Sen. Boto Kanneh of Gbarpolu County.
Plenary’s decision was based on an invitation after the submission of an Arcelormettal deal for an extension to the Senate on Thursday, November 25, 2021, for amendment by the Chief Executive, President George M. Weah.
The Mineral Development Agreement was forwarded to the Senate Joint Committee on Lands, Mines, Energy and Natural Resources, Concession, and Investment, Ways, Means, Finance and Budget as well as the Judiciary with a mandate to review and scrutinize the proposed agreement for further actions.
Therefore, the assessment will put members of the Senate in the position to make an informed decision, especially the proposed amendment before the August Body.
The company currently operates in Nimba, Grand Bassa, and Bong counties respectively. The three affected counties are entitled to annual royalty of US$3 million, with Nimba receiving an amount of US$1.5 million, Grand Bassa US$ 1million, and Bong US$ 500,000, respectively.
The company recently negotiated a US$800 million amended Mineral Development Agreement with the Executive, which is currently before the Legislature for ratification. Editing by Jonathan Browne