Yarmein Administrative District Welcomes AML’s Phase-II Expansion

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It was an exciting welcome in Gbeleyee as citizens and traditional leaders, accompanied by mask dancers, turned out in grand-style for a community engagement on ArcelorMittal’s Phase Two Expansion.

   Women Empowerment Forum Liberia (WEFL), a local not-for-profit organization, is creating awareness about ArcelorMittal-Liberia’s second expansion and its benefits.

   The General Town Chief for Gbeleyee, James Gono, and Yarmein Administrative District Commissioner, Thomas N. Gonotee, received the team and said the towns are committed to supporting the AML expansion to the best of their abilities.

   “As you may recall, Yarmein Administrative District is the host of ArcelorMittal-Liberia’s iron ore mines in Nimba, and welcoming you in this manner shows how much ready we are to workin with ArcelorMittal-Liberia.” “But,” he added, “our showing up here is to also make sure they (ArcelorMittal) continue to live up to its corporate social responsibilities as they have been doing.”

   District Commissioner Thomas Gonotee committed that the host community will continue to support AML’s effort. “We will do all our traditional welcomes because we are the host community of ArcelorMittal-Liberia and receiving you must show to anyone that we are prepared in having this very important town hall meeting to support and protect the company,” he stated.

   Stakeholders of the eight towns, Gbeleyee, Karnlah, Bololewee, Gbonnie, Baintonwin, Gbain, Kinnon and Lugbeyee, were all present at the engagement.

   Thrilled by the warm welcome and display of traditional cultural dances, WEFL Executive Director, Laura Bee Kiekpo, said, “This is the very first huge traditional welcome since we started this project, and we are very thankful and pleased with the people of Nimba, mainly the citizens of Yarmein.”

   According to her, the engagement with the local leaders is focused on cultivating the culture of frank community dialogue and conversation, with the spirit and intent of understanding what ArcelorMittal’s investment in Liberia is about.

   Laura said the AML Phase Two expansion will see additional jobs created, the construction of an iron ore processing plant as well as new investment in rail and port, to the benefit of Liberia.

   She told the residents of Yarmein Administrative District that ArcelorMittal has demonstrated consistency in the payment of all its obligations to the government and people of Liberia, with no outstanding obligation.

   According to the WEFL executive, the month-long community awareness runs across five major areas in Nimba County that are affected by AML’s operation.

Participants at the community dialogue in Gbeleyee, Nimba County, Liberia

   Robert Y. Paye, WEFL Project Assistant, gave an overview of the activities and benefits of ArcelorMittal-Liberia Phase-II Expansion.

   At the close of his presentation, the citizens testified about ArcelorMittal-Liberia’s community development initiatives, which they said has greatly impacted them.

   Susanna Wuakah explained how her nephew, Oliver Dore Suah, benefited from ArcelorMittal-Liberia scholarship while Amelia Y. Bullaha, resident of Gbapa, said her daughter, Ruth Bullah, is a recipient of ArcelorMittal-Liberia scholarship as well.

   For her part, Oretha Larkpor disclosed that her son, who was a cyclist, is now a full employee of ArcelorMittal-Liberia.

   “My son gave a ride to a senior staff that didn’t pay him at the time, but he was just testing him. His patience moved the man to employ him, and he is now a staff of ArcelorMittal-Liberia,” Lakpor added.

   Patrick Dolo from Bololewee also said ArcelorMittal-Liberia’s Biodiversity Conservation Program, implemented by ARS Project in the community, has continued to be a blessing for his family.

The Paramount Chief of Yarmein Administrative District, Richard Gbanteh, noted that ArcelorMittal-Liberia constructed a school in Gbain, Kinnon and Bololewee, and even stated that the company contributed one thousand four hundred (1,144) gallons of fuel oil to rehabilitate feeder roads in the community.

   ArcelorMittal’s community Land Crop Compensation program was recognized as “outstanding” by Milton Gono, a visually impaired who spoke at the event.

   Representatives of two women groups also admitted ArcelorMittal-Liberia’s help to survey a low land on which they have since started farming.

   The Empowerment Forum Liberia (WEFL) public sensitization on ArcelorMittal’s Phase-II Expansion ended with call from the citizens that such engagement continues, as a way of strengthening citizens-company relationship.

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