Observer Daily Log
The Liberian Observer Corporation
May 9, 2022
Dear Mr Editor:
The Daily Observer published an article in its print and online publications on May 4, 2022 with the headline “Liberia: Nimbaians Outraged over AML’s ‘Manipulative’ Letter”, with a launching caption: “Call on government to reject giant’s claim steel not to sign agreements with other investors.
ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) wishes to declare that truth and accuracy as well as fairness and impartiality are lacking in this article. The Daily Observer published an unbalanced story characterized by errors and sweeping generalizations, without either the reporter or the editorial team contacting AML about the lies in the article.
The report, which appears to have been gathered by hearsay, misidentified some of the people cited as coming from Sehyi district. Gbapa or Gbarpa as mentioned in the report is actually in Yarmein Administrative District in Constituency No. 3, Nimba County.
Even if the words attributed to a few locals are not bothered by the truth, AML must be credited for contributions made to social development funds, corporate social responsibility and resettlement of farmers in mining areas. On a general level, the men mentioned in the article as well as the Daily Observer say that paying the social development fund of $1.5 million each year and underwriting the cost of a road project of $40 million dollars between Ganta and Yekepa are not contribution to development?
It is also important to note that one of the people cited as a dissatisfied resident had acknowledged AML’s contributions to the livelihood and biodiversity program in the Blei and Sehyi community forest in the Daily Observer in 2020, when this same person was in conflict with the people of Zor Tiahpa had approved SOLWAY to prospect for iron ore in this community forest. Are they forgetting that it was the social development fund provided by AML that covered the cost of purchasing road construction machinery for Nimba County?
Let’s identify some specific community projects in affected communities. Lugbehyi public school, Gbondin public school, Bololeewii public school, Kinon public school, Karnla bridge reconstruction, Kinon clinic project and installation of 19 water pumps hand in these affected communities all came from social development funds and direct contributions from AML.
Currently, AML, having realized that the social development fund in the three counties (Bong, Bassa and Nimba) does not have much impact on the affected communities, has decided to withhold 20% of this fund to spend directly on projects with the consent of the county authorities and the legislative caucuses of these counties.
Specifically for Nimba and Yarmein in particular, the bridge projects along the roads from Lugbehyi to Bonlah, and from Gbelehyii to Gbondin, are all facilitated by this money. In Zuluyee, Bunadin, Gipo, Sanniquellie, Tonwee, Sehyee-Geh, Veipa and Zolowee, we have clinic, bridge, school and town hall projects underway under this same 20% social development program .
For direct impact projects, AML approved the rehabilitation of 19 installed handpumps in affected communities in Yarmein and constructed six additional new ones, renovated Zolowee Public School and GW Harley Hospital in Sanniquellie, and contributed an additional USD 50,000 in materials towards the completion of the Gbarpa clinic.
For the resettlement of land or farm owners in AML’s operational area, the company has spent up to US$12 million from Tokadeh to Gangra, and currently the crop count is in progress. course at Yuelliton with an expectation of US$1.4 million or more. soon paid.
At the top of the mine at Yuelliton, AML had paid US$412,000 to relocate farmers and US$8,620 to relocate a traditional shrine. One of those who claim AML’s presence means nothing to him is a direct beneficiary of resettlement packages as evidenced by the very house he lives in in Gbapa.
As part of the university programs, AML signed a US$495,625 contract with SEARCH in Nimba and extended the same with an additional US$261,000 a few years ago. Leo Thompson and Lee Thompson, sons of Saye Thompson, were sponsored to St. Lawrence Catholic School in Ganta among several other high school and college students.
Strangely, some family members of those who “didn’t see the benefits of AML” benefited from 100% AML funded programs at Wizard Brothers Vocational Training Center and Shirley L. Harrison Memorial School in Sanniquellie respectively. The fully-funded AML MDA Advance Scholarship Program has just sent additional Nimba students to study in foreign countries, except for several more who have graduated and returned.
These are just a few examples of the inaccuracies spread by some, using the Daily Observer channel. ArcelorMittal Liberia asks the Daily Observer to at least try to balance its story as dictated by your business ethics.