MONROVIA-In less than a year, ArcelorMittal Liberia has paid more than half a million United States Dollars in resettlement compensation to owners of farmlands close to its iron ore mines in Yekepa, Nimba County.
On Tuesday 8th June, the latest batch of 50 owners of farms within the 500-meter safety buffer zone around Mount Yuelliton was compensated by ArcelorMittal Liberia for their crops and farms within the area.
A press statement issued on Thursday said. A total of at least US$139,906.39 (one hundred and thirty-nine thousand nine hundred six United States Dollars and thirty-nine cents) was disbursed to the 50 farmers, some of whom received nearly USD $10,000 (Ten thousand United States Dollars).
This brings the amount paid by ArcelorMittal Liberia in compensation to farmers in less than a year to USD $566,118.83 (five hundred sixty-six thousand one hundred eighteen United States Dollars and eighty-three cents). Last July, ArcelorMittal Liberia paid USD $ 426,212.44 in compensation to 161 owners of 177 farms and 9 farm kitchens within the drill paths of Mount Yuelliton buffer.
ArcelorMittal Liberia began payment to the farmers on Tuesday, after working closely with the farmers, local leaders, and relevant government authorities to count the crops and properties in the affected location. The approved price list for the different categories of crops was provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, while verification was done by a specialized committee comprising the Farmers Union, Mine Resettlement Coordination Committee MRCC, local government, community representatives, and other stakeholders.
The presentation of the resettlement benefits took place after consultations with the farmers and community leaders to ensure that they were aware of their rights and that a proper counting of their crops was done to be justly compensated.
This practice by ArcelorMittal Liberia is in line with national and international laws and standards, such as the Liberian Constitution, the Environmental Protection Agency Act (2003), the Environmental Protection Act and Associated Environmental Impact Assessment Procedural Guidelines (2006), and the Mineral and Mining Act (2000), which require the recognition and settlement of land and property rights based on fair compensation. The resettlements by ArcelorMittal Liberia are also consistent with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank standards.
ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Community Relations Department in collaboration with local stakeholders worked long hours to meticulously count and verify all tree crops and other farm assets on the top of Mount Yuelliton and within the 500-meter buffer zone for compensation.
AML Resettlement Supervisor, Jerry Fumba said over 600 farms have been covered in the crop counting process, and that farmers are being paid in groups of 50 at a time. By the end of this month, another group of 50 farmers will receive resettlement compensations totaling US$138,188.37 from ArcelorMittal Liberia.
Communities surrounding Mount Yuelliton earlier presented a list of 1,173 farmers, with farmers possessing one or more farms. Considering the number of farmers to be compensated, Mr. Fumba said the company will be paying more than USD $1million to farmers.