Liberia: Ancelor Mittal Foresees Bright Future

Monrovia — A member of the Group Management Board of ArcelorMittal says the company is confident that it would be able to reap all the benefits from its operation and is optimistic that the company's project in the country, will add tremendous value to the economy of the country.

Mr. Malay Mukherjee, who headed a three-man team to Liberia to assess the operation of the company, said the operation of the ArcelorMittal in Liberia, will definitely create a good future for the country and the company.

Addressing a team of journalists late yesterday evening before the departure of the delegation from Liberia, Mr. Mukherjee, said the ArcelorMittal agreement was a good project not only for Liberia but for Africa as a whole. He said the project will show growth not only in Liberia but that it will show what an African nation is capable of doing.

Mr. Mukherjee said AcelorMittal has resolved to expedite all the facilities that are required for the project and to build up the skills of the talents of the local people with a focus on creating a condition where everyone will gain or benefit from the project.

According to him, the focus of ArcelorMittal now, is how to expedite the project, something which he said prompted the team's visit to the country.

Responding to a reporter's question on when reconstruction work on the facilities would commence for the company to begin full skill operation, Mr. Davinder Chugh who is a Senior Executive Vice President of the company responsible to oversee contract issues, said the company has signed and awarded several contracts, which will actually determine what the works are that need to be done before physical work can actually start.

He said the biggest of these contracts was signed yesterday with an American, Canadian and Brazilian construction company called, "Odebrecht."

Mr. Chugh said under the agreement, Odebrecht will do the engineering and project management, construction management and all the supervision of the three major activities, which include port rehabilitation and mining work.

He added that before any physical work can start, certain services need to be handled such as determining the best way ships need to enter the port among others. He said to deal with these issues, ArcelorMittal has awarded several contracts.

Addressing the issue of when the construction work will start, Mr. Mukherjee disclosed that the company has already commenced lots of activities that would begin its full scale operation in the country. He said road rehabilitation has since commenced with Liberian contractors playing a leading role in the process, while a school, building has been completed in the Yekepa area in addition to 250 housing units for staff. He added that his focus on getting its operation started as quickly as it could be has been concluded by the awarding of these contracts on time and would not take much time to handle outstanding contractual issues.

Mr. Mukherjee put the contract signed yesterday with Odebrecht at US$21 million.

The third member of the team, Bill Scotting who is an Executive Vice President/Head of Strategy described the project as a very important project and that the company has put in place strategies that would enable it to grow.

He said the delegation is impressed with the team it has on the ground and it wants to bring local entrepreneurs to work with the company.

Mr. Scotting further stated that the team and the company believe that the government is supportive and that the company has the financial strength to see the project implemented.

The three-man AcelorMittal team, which left the country yesterday evening shortly after addressing the press met with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during their assessment visit.

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