MONROVIA-News of ArcelorMittal’s ambitious Phase II expansion continues to resonate with indigenous Liberian businesses in the logistics and hospitality sectors.
This expansion, the government of Liberia and AML have long agreed will pave the way for enhanced production in AML’s operations in Nimba.
ArcelorMittal phase two project will result in further investment in strengthening the capacity of the Buchanan Port, mainly through a new fixed ship loader that will have a greater loading capacity of 6-8,000 tons of iron ore per hour, and the construction of mega ore concentrator at the mine site in Yekepa.
These activities, when completed, will make way for the company to produce iron ore pellets enabling ArcelorMittal to increase its production capacity to about 30mtpa (Million Tonnes Per Annum, a weight-based production measurement value), of ore.
It is for this Phase II Expansion Project, that ArcelorMittal, a leader in major global markets, including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with leading R&D and technology, as well as sizeable captive supplies of raw materials and outstanding distribution networks for steel and ore has begun huge logistical movement into Liberia.
This is an ideal business opportunity that many small local businesses in Liberia are positioning themselves to tap into directly or indirectly during the course of the expansion.
In an exclusive interview with a team of community radio reporters in Ganta, Nimba County on Tuesday, August 30, 2022, and a truck owner who runs a struggling rental service, said he was so excited and cannot wait to see the company roll out its expansion plans.
Jackson Dolo made clear that he was not alone as similar sentiments are being expressed by owners and managers of car and trucks rental services in Northern County.
Said Dolo: “this AML expansion if it happens will put our cars and trucks to work again after things have been quiet for a long time”
“I remember making good money every day from my trucks that were being used on the mines. When things slowed down at AML our income is affected. I am very happy to be reading about expansion again as a contractor and truck owner, and I will be bidding for contracts again”.
The visibly excited Dolo concluded while sharing pictures of the good days of business dealings with our reporter.
Excitement is gradually growing in the business community here in Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa counties where AML’s activities are heavily concentrated.
As the community radio reporters continued their random interviews, they also spoke with a passionate resident of Nimba County who owns private property in the area and did not want to be named.
The lady is constructing a new hotel and restaurant on her family land in anticipation of favorable business climate in her dear Nimba County.
Speaking to us for this piece, she said ; “I want things to kick off tomorrow; I am already very excited about the prospects and what I am hearing here as I have been witnessing massive movements of AML machinery in preparation for the explanation” .
In Grand Bassa County, a native of the historical Edina township spoke excitedly about the future and claimed she is looking to invest over a hundred thousand United States dollars in the hotel project she is undertaking as she is sure contractors and other service providers to AML will certainly be in need of such facilities as they gain contracts and employments in AML expansion.
“We who are from here are very glad the company is bringing back the good times to our beautiful Buchanan,” said Mark Wesseh.
He recalled how things looked gloomy and heartbreaking when there was a slowdown throughout Ebola and COVID 19 saying; “AML showed real commitment by staying here with us through thick and thin, these are real investors, and not fair-weather believers but true partners in progress”
Local government experts say the company’s expansion could increase the number of new businesses opening up in the Port City of Buchanan and by that boost city and county revenue in municipal taxes and fees will also see rapid growth.
The excitement amongst SMEs about the AML expansion could mean these businesses would hire additional staff and create more employment for young graduates from the Bong Technical College, the Nimba University and the Grand Bassa University.