ArcelorMittal declares force majeure at Liberia mines following Ebola outbreak

10 August 2014 (Last Updated August 10th, 2014 18:30)

ArcelorMittal has declared force majeure at its Yekepa and Buchanan mining operations in Liberia, following the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.

ArcelorMittal has declared force majeure at its Yekepa and Buchanan mining operations in Liberia, following the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.

The Yekepa and Buchanan operations, which currently produce five million tonnes of iron ore a year, was estimated to produce 15 million tonnes of iron ore under phase two and triple the company's iron ore production in the country.

However, due to the spread of the Ebola virus, the 15 contractors working on the ArcelorMittal expansion project have decided to halt work on the project and start evacuating their 645 employees out of the country.

"We are providing full support to the government in this regard and taking every precaution to protect all of our employees on the ground in Liberia."

The project was scheduled to begin production by the end of 2015.

ArcelorMittal Mining CEO Bill Scotting said: "Clearly the priority for Liberia and other affected countries right now is to contain and ultimately stop this current outbreak of Ebola.

"We are providing full support to the government in this regard and taking every precaution to protect all of our employees on the ground in Liberia.

"ArcelorMittal has made a long-term commitment to Liberia and we will maintain this commitment.

"While the recent developments are very concerning, at present we believe that the emergency procedures and other measures developed and currently in place at all ArcelorMittal sites in Liberia make it possible to continue our phase one operations."

The company said in as statement: "Phase one operations continue as normal at this time and to date have not been affected by the situation in Liberia."

In 2013, ArcelorMittal produced 58.4 million tonnes of iron ore and 91.2 million tonnes of crude steel, generating a revenue of $79.4bn.

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