Liberia: ‘Daughters of the Mountain Nimba’ Petitions against Ratifying ArcelorMittal Proposed Amendment


MONROVIA – A group made of predominantly women from Nimba County under the banner ‘Daughters of the Mountain’ have petitioned members of the Nimba Legislative Caucus asking them not to ratify the proposed amended Mineral Development Agreement (MDA).

The Group through Madam Gaziawon Nellay Dano are calling on the Nimba County Legislative Caucus not to rectify the agreement until AML complies with the past agreement and implementation of the previous issues in the previous agreement.

“In consideration of the above, we the Daughters of the Mountain call on the Nimba County Legislative Caucus not to rectify the agreement until AML complies with the past agreement and implementation of the points above.”

The Women petition is the second from Nimba County since the Executive Branch of government agreed with the Mineral Company to extend their contract by 25 additional years. Last week a group of Nimba Citizens from all spectrum of the County Population petition their caucus against the ratification of the agreement.

“We vehemently oppose to any expansion of the MDA with AML, until AML can demonstrate and prove its compliance with the current terms and condition of the existing MDA which has a term running up to 2034.”

Amongst many things the Women are demanding that ArcelorMittal provides an audited environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) report on its operations since 2011 and produce safety and environmental compliance regulations that meet international standards to protect women and children in the concession.

They also want ArcelorMittal to ensure gender balance in its labor force and incorporate women into technical and vocational fields for economic productivity;

In the interest of inter-generational equity, they are opposing to any grant of mineral extraction above the current limit of five million tons per annum especially taking into account the best interest of women and girls of Nimba.

“The MDA must demonstrate that it contributes to the welfare and wellbeing of this current generation without compromising the potential of future generations for a better quality of life.

 The broad range of practical challenges including health, education, socioeconomics, etc.  Faced by women and girls in affected communities and in Nimba are taken into consideration. The government enforce the integration of local content within the operational areas of AML as required by Article 11 of the MDA. The Government ensures that AML complies with the current MDA, and all applicable laws.”

Meanwhile, in the midst of stiff resistance from hundreds of elders and citizens of the operational areas of steel giant ArcelorMittal over the expansion of the company’s Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) signed with the Government of Liberia, the controversial Chairman of the Nimba County Legislative Caucus Senator Prince Y. Johnson   vowed to lobby with his colleagues at the Liberian Senate to ensure the full extension and ratification of the deal.

On September 10, 2021, the Government of Liberia and the ArcelorMittal signed an amendment to the MDA to meet with present day realities, following two years of intense and difficult negotiations

 The signing brought to three the number of times the MDA signed with the company has been amended. The 3rd Amendment was required to ensure completion of ArcelorMittal Phase 2 project.

Under the new MDA, the Liberian government will secure about US$800 million expansion project to build a mine concentrate, expand capacity of the Rail and Port from the current production of 5 MTPA to 15MTPA within 3 years and a reservation to increase production to 30MTPA over the long term. 

A statement issued disclosed that the Liberian government also secured a total $65 million payment from ArcelorMittal which includes $55million USD reservation fee for further of expansion rights for the project to 30MTPA and $10 million signing bonus.

The Government has also secured additional contribution of $300k to $500k annually for projects to be implemented directly by affected communities in Bong, Grand Bassa, and Nimba.

The statement added that ArcelorMittal expansion project will triple Iron ore production in Liberia with a corresponding increase in Government revenue and job creation. 

“This $800 million Phase Two project will result in direct spending into the Liberian economy of approximately $200 million per year.  The project will create approximately 1,200 direct employment and 400 indirect employments for Liberians.  During Construction, there will be approximately 1,500 jobs created for Liberians”. 

Following the landmark signing of the new MDA, former Grand Bassa County Senator Gbenzongar Findley instituted a lawsuit against ArcelorMittal claiming that the company has not live up to the previous MDA signed with the Liberian government.