ArcelorMittal Liberia shipped 3 million tons of iron ore between 1 January and 8 August 2013, almost doubling last year's figures for the same period. ArcelorMittal is the world's leading integrated steel and mining company, with a presence in more than 60 countries.
The most recent monthly shipments figures, for July 2013, show production tripled last month compared with July 2012. "We shipped out 516,000 tons of iron ore in July 2013, compared with 175,138 tons in the previous July," said the company's spokesperson, Hesta Baker-Pearson.
Due to the improvements that are being implemented in ArcelorMittal Liberia, 3 million tons have already been shipped in 2013 - higher than the project's installed capacity. While ArcelorMittal Liberia's goal is to produce 4 million tons of iron ore each year during the direct shipped ore (DSO) project, the company is now on track to produce 4.5 million tons in 2013.
The first shipment of iron ore from Liberia left the Liberian shores on September 27, 2011. In less than two years, CEO Antonio Carlos Maria said "the company has proven to be sustainable and has the ability to do much more."
Between January 1 and August 12 2012, the company shipped 1,896,000 tons of iron ore. Challenged by heavy rains, ArcelorMittal Liberia sought answers to help mitigate the effects of the rainy season on operations.
While Liberia also experienced heavy rains in July 2013, the production rate tripled year-on-year. "We are in the process of implementing a polymer blending facility which will assist in mitigating the potential risks associated with high moisture content in iron ore, thereby solving major shipping concern during the rainy months," said ArcelorMittal Liberia port manager Jim Page.
The CEO of ArcelorMittal Liberia points to the workers as the success of the company: "great teamwork from operations, support staff, contractors, daily hires and the communities are the reason for the great results" he said. In 2013, another major contributor towards reaching the company's targets was transshipment in the dry season. During transshipment, a smaller vessel is loaded for three or four rotations, transferring up to 60,000 tons of ore to Cape-size ocean going vessels of up to 200 000 tons.
These then transport the ore to customers in Europe and China. "We have already hit 3 million tons and are not yet not in Q4 yet, so we are above our target. We are loading vessels at approximately 20,000 tons a day" added port manager Jim Page.
The company is currently implementing phase two of its iron ore operations, when ArcelorMittal Liberia will begin ramping production up to 15 million tons a year by 2015.