In recent years, ArcelorMittal has sought the path of sustainability in its operation, considering sustainable mining and agriculture.
The company’s sustainable mining practices are believed to have the potential to minimize environmental harm by reducing pollution, conserving water resources, preserving biodiversity which helps protect ecosystems and ensures the land can be rehabilitated for future use.
AML has almost entirely adapted to this new global phenomenon to deliver on its promise of long-term viability of the mining industry in Liberia by responsibly managing resources, to extend the life of mining contracts and continue to operate profitably.
Mining operations evidently often take place in rural areas where agriculture is a primary source of livelihood for local communities.
As part of its social responsibility, ArcelorMittal has sustained support to sustainable agriculture in communities in Nimba County, demonstrating a commitment to the well-being of these communities and helping, at the same time, to mitigate the effects of mining on their land and resources.
Through local agriculture groups, AML gives support to farmers around its mines to engage in environmental stewardship that adverts environmental effects, including habitat destruction, water pollution, and soil contamination.
The investment in sustainable agriculture practices is meant to help local communities offset these effects by improving soil quality and use.
Just last week, in Sehyi-Geh Clan, Sanniquellie Mahn District, Nimba County, ten communities benefitted from a year-long empowerment project in sustainable agriculture.
This program is under the ArcelorMittal Liberia Biodiversity Conservation Program (BCP), which is implemented in collaboration with Agriculture Relief Service (ARS), a local non-governmental organization in Nimba County.
AML provides all the support, including training, farming inputs, implements, and machinery, among other support, to about 250 farmers and fifty students in the ten targeted communities.
In a recent company publication, Luogon P. Lah, ARS Executive Director was quoted as saying the farming communities supported by AML are involved in different farming activities that include swamp rice production, vegetable gardening, oil palm production, cocoa farming, animal husbandry, and chicken poetry, while others are enrolled into a Village Saving Loan Assistant Program, also known as VSLA.
Sustainable agriculture like swamp farming form the basis for protecting forest, which is destroyed by uphill farming, traditional practiced throughout Liberia.
Forest watch reports that in 2010 Liberia had 9.16 Mha of natural forest, extending to over 97% of its land area. In 2022, it lost 150 kha of natural forest, equivalent to 95.4 Mt of CO₂ emissions.
The support AML provides for communities to get engaged into sustainable agriculture plays a crucial role in community development by ensuring that farming practices meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.
Such a program holds the ability to promote environmentally friendly methods that conserve resources, minimize pollution and enhance biodiversity.
AML is of the hope that this sustainable program leads to increased agricultural productivity, better food security and healthier ecosystems. Sustainable agriculture also generates local employment opportunities and fosters economic growth, contributing to the overall well-being and resilience of the community.
AML is of the conviction that through the adoption of sustainable practices like this its host communities will improve soil health, water quality and air quality, which enables people to live long and enjoy the benefit of the natural environment.