Liberia: Nimba Citizens Protest Amendment of Arcelormittal MDA

Monrovia — A group of citizens from Nimba County have presented a petition to their Legislative Caucus through Representative Prince Tokpah detesting the recent agreement entered into by the Government of Liberia and ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) to extend existing Mineral Development Agreement by additional 25 years.

In their petition presented Wednesday, September 15 2021, the citizens categorically and unequivocally denounced, rejected, objected to and resisted the extension of the MDA with AML, until the steel company can demonstrate and prove its compliance with the current terms and condition of the MDA.

The citizens also stated in their Petition that any future extension and expansion of the MDA should be informed by AML's compliance with the terms and conditions of the MDA such as rehabilitation and construction of community infrastructures, provision of safe drinking water, provision of quality healthcare delivery systems, provision quality education, 25-50% transition of Management to Liberians, the provision of alternative livelihoods and other benefits listed in the Action Plan of 2013, etc.; be considered and assured prior to any amendment and/or extension

The citizens also want any future amendment to the MDA must be done in compliance with community rights as enshrined in the Land Rights Act; prior requirements of notice and publication of a feasibility report that sets out the basis for extension as stated in the current MDA.

They are further requesting that ownership of national assets such as railroad, port, should not be transferred or made a subject of co-ownership in any amendment of the MDA; that the government ensures that AML complies with the full requirements of Article 10 of the first amendment to the MDA.

"The concessionaire to ensure that, subject to availability, within five (5) years of the Amendment Effective Date, 25% of all senior management positions at the concessionaire are held by Liberian citizens, increasing to 50% within ten (10) years of the Amendment Effective Date as reflected in Appendix G of the MDA."

The citizens also want the 5% on undiluted interest in concessions granted to communities by the Land Rights Act be enforced, and that communities' inputs and concerns be obtained during any review of any concession located on customary/community land.

Also, in their petition the citizens said, in the interest of inter-generational equity: "We oppose any grant of mineral extraction above the current limit of five million tons per annum. The government should enforce the integration of local content within the operational areas of AML as required by Article 11 of the MDA; and the government should ensure that AML complies with the current MDA, and applicable and relevant laws of Liberia including the Land Rights Act, Mining Law, the Environmental Protection and Management Law of Liberia.

"In consideration of the above, we the Citizens and Stakeholders of Nimba County call on the Nimba County Legislative Caucus to work with other members of the 54th National Legislature to ensure that the above counts, and other conditions set forth in the MDA, be included in the proposed third amendment to the MDA."

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