By Reuben Sei Waylaun
The joint Legislative committees of the House of Representatives comprising of the House’s Committees on mines, energy and environment along with the committee on investment and concessions and Health along with three counties’ caucuses; namely, Nimba, Bong, and Grand Bassa counties want concession audit of ArcelorMittal operations in Liberia.
Recently the joint committees were mandated by plenary on the 19th of March 2018 to visit the ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) operational sites to establish as to whether they follow the mineral Development Agreement (MDA) and also their corporate social responsibility and community relationship and also to review the MDA in accordance with xxxvi of the MDA.
The decision of the plenary was accredited upon a complaint filed by Nimba County Representative Joseph N. Somwarbi on March 19, 2018 craving the indulgence of the people’s representatives to probe into the alleged violations of the terms and conditions agreed by the ArcelorMittal company and the government of
Following the review of the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA), the joint committees said due to all of the violations of the mineral development agreement between the ArcelorMital Liberia and the government of Liberia, there should be a concession audit of the company.
The joint committees said “there should be a total review of the MDA between both parties. There be frequent monitoring of concessions by the executive and or the house’s committees on mines and concession. The remaining rail road from Tokadeh to Yekepa should be rehabilitated within one year. Existing houses and other structure (work shop, water treatment plant, and the power plant) should be renovated or rehabilitated to ensure appropriate accommodation with available safe drinking pipe bone water and effective power supply in all the AML operational communities (Nimba, Bong, and Bassa) within six months.”
“Existing roads and bridges within the Yekepa community, and the immediate affected communities as well as those in Bong and Bassa should be rehabilitated to Public Works standard to ensure free and safe movement of citizens within said localities within six months. The Yekepa community, Green Hill Quary Community, and the port community in Buchanan should be brushed entirely and subsequently regularly maintained to ensure safe and healthy environment for the community dwellers within five months.
“The bridges linking Bong County to Grand Bassa County and Bong County to Nimba County should be reconstructed to Public Works standard within one year. Erect a gate at the railway crossing in the Town of Green Hill Quarry within 2 months. There should be a guaranteed agreement between the private land owners and the ArcelorMittal within all of their areas of operations in Nimba, Bong and Bassa with the full involvement of their direct representatives from those electoral districts within three months,” the committees recommended.
The joint committees added “the current emergency clinics located at Area R and within the Loop in Buchanan should be immediately transferred to the company’s constructed hospitals; the hospitals should be fully staff, renovated and equipped with the requisite medicines and medical supplies within 6 months.
“There should be 5 hand pumps constructed in Sehyikimpa and the pipe born water in Zolowee be completely rehabilitated within four months. Records for the US$200,000 Scholarship to train Liberians outside of the country and the US$50,000 support that should be provided to the NCCC should be made available to the office of Hon. Joseph N. Somwarbi and other relevant authorities and that of the specified US$284,175.00 be made available to the office of Hon. Albert B. Hills, Jr. and other relevant authorities upon official request to AML Management.
“Particular storage site should be constructed for the appropriate stockpiling of the “low grade” iron ore for future use by the government of Liberia immediately as long as the mining operations are being carried out. All redundant employees who were issued letters by AML Management with the hope of reinstating them when conditions improve should be unconditionally reinstated to their various existing positions without technicality of nomenclature within the period not exceeding 4 months and those contractors whose contracts were bridged should be appropriately paid within the same period,” the committees further recommended.
The joint committees also want cases of illegal dismissal in which due diligence has be done with all required due processes, those employees should be reinstated immediately.
The lawmakers also want employees who inherited medical problems as a result of the job and have now be considered physically incapable based on medical advice be appropriately catered for and compensated.
“The term “permanent contractor” which contradicts the fair labor practices and labor laws of the Republic of Liberia should be aborted and citizens considered in said categories should be employed within 2 months. All unskilled laborers should be recruited from the affected communities around the areas of operations.
“In the recruitment of skilled laborers, the citizens of affected communities should be given the first preference in the case where they have the required skills and professionalism. In the case of public projects need undertaken within the affected communities, some products of the operations (the crushed rocks and rock dust as well as iron ore dust) should be provided by the AML management as part of its contributions to the community development base on the current lawmaker’s request,” the committees said.