Dec 5, 2021
MONROVIA – A group of Citizens under the banner Collaboration of Nimba Citizens (CNC) stormed the grounds of the National Legislature on December 3, 2021 pleading with lawmakers through a petition to reject the proposed amendment of the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) with Arcelor Mittal Liberia (AML) until legitimate conditions are met.
Arcelor Mittal Liberia Mineral Development Agreement was signed in 2005 and later amended in 2013. But it is believed that the company had failed to comply with eighty percent (80%) of the provisions in the current 2005 MDA and the August 2013 amendment.
Presenting the petition to Lawmakers, the group said there is a need to reject AML amendment so as to enable sufficient and legal binding commitments are made by the Concessionaire to the people of Nimba.
The group said that the company has ignored its legal and constitutional responsibilities; thus leaving the people of Nimba with a less benefit of what appears to be a huge initiative, a one that will awesomely benefit the company.
The group has unequivocally denounced, rejected, objected to the extension of the MDA with AML beyond its 25-year contract term which ends 2034.
“It was also made known that till present, the company has reportedly failed to live up to its obligations ranging from Education (Advance scholarship, high school and skills training, etc.) Development (community, port, railroad, housing units, etc.) Employment (Liberians at senior management level: COO, CTO, CFO, etc.) Health and Safety (modern hospital, safe drinking water and advance safety measure, etc.) and Environment (water & air pollutions, protection of wildlife, land degradation, etc.)”, the petitioners statement added.
The US$800M second phase of the Mineral Development Agreement is currently before the Legislature for consideration.
The group said that if the Legislature ignores their concerns as expressed in the petition, by passing into law the AML MDA, it will only give the legal stamp of approval to the Concessionaire’s continuous economic, social and environmental negligence of which Nimba County is one of the victims.
The group described it as a disappointment on the government’s part to grant a further fifteen (15) years extension or expansion of the MDA without proof of specific action point listed in the agreement.
They also complained that there is absolutely no consultation with, and participation of affected communities, consistent with the provisions of Article 48 and Article 36 of the Land Rights Act to ensure that the social and economic benefits of the communities are protected.
The concern citizens said they acted constitutionally as the Liberian law guarantees that; “all persons at all times, in an orderly and peaceable manner, shall have the right to assemble and consult upon common good, to instruct their representatives, to petition the Government or other functionaries for the redress of grievances”.
ArcelorMittal is a multinational steel manufacturing corporation headquartered in Luxembourg City. It was formed in 2006 from the takeover and merger of Arcelor by Indian-owned Mittal Steel.
The company is the second largest steel producer in the world, with an annual crude steel production of 78.5 million metric tons as of 2018. It is ranked 120th in the 2019 Fortune Global 500 ranking of the world’s largest corporations.
The group’s rejection is based on the AML non-compliance to Article 7 of the Mineral Development Agreement which provides that, “unmovable facilities or assets such as railroad, port, harbor, and other fixed assets, should not be transferred to, or made the subject of co-ownership by, the Concessionaire in any current or amendment of the MDA and third party use.
The CNC blamed the Nimba Legislative Caucus for failure to channel their issues to the Legislature owing to several other petitions that were presented to them regarding the rejection or the Mineral Development Agreement.