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AML Embarks on Half a Million 5-Years Tree Planting Campaign to Help Mitigate Climate Change

AML’s Chief Executive Officer, Joep Coenen; Chief Operation Officer, Adriaan Strydom, and other senior managers officially launched the initiative recently and reaffirmed their support and commitment to upholding the highest environmental standards.
AML CEO Water Plant in Yekepa

Yekepa, Nimba County Liberia: – The Environmental Department of ArcelorMittal-Liberia (AML) with support from the company’s Senior Management Team (SMT) is reinforcing the planting of trees in promoting other environmental protection initiatives aimed that helping to mitigate the effects of climate change in Yekepa and beyond.

AML’s Chief Executive Officer, Joep Coenen; Chief Operation Officer, Adriaan Strydom, and other senior managers officially launched the initiative recently and reaffirmed their support and commitment to upholding the highest environmental standards. 

CEO Coenen underscored the importance of the project, as its launch on November 11 coincided with the COP27 meeting on global warming which was held recently in Egypt.

He also challenged the Environmental Department and the entire AML workforce and community stakeholders to plant two new trees for every tree that is cut down. Coenen urged the Environmental Department to continue to monitor and educate employees on the effects of deforestation and climate change.

ArcelorMittal-Liberia’s Environmental Manager, Alvin Poure, congratulated the CEO and other senior team members serving as role models to thousands of employees, as the department seeks to make the exercise an inclusive and participatory initiative for all AML employees.

“We have witnessed the random and indiscriminate cutting down of trees even in Yekepa for charcoal making and construction purposes. We decided to commence here in Yekepa, and in the next two years, we expect to plant not less than 12,000 trees here, and half a million trees in the next five years in the Nimba landscape.”

The tree species planted included Xylopia Vellesia, Samanca Dinklagei, Berlinia Confusa, Kola Gigantea, Albizia Ferruginea, and Ceiba Pentandra, some of which Environmental and Reforestation Officer Linda Dolo said to have medicinal properties.

Expressing support in separate remarks, Project Area Manager Miantor Suah said since his project is concerned with building the concentrator, a huge facility that will take about a hundred hectares, there is a need to replant trees that will be taken out to protect the environment and not to be left vulnerable.

Sharing a secret about nature, Chief Operation Officer Adriaan Strydom said, “There is only one thing about nature; what we take out, we must put it back. This is a good initiative. As a mining engineer, it burns my heart to root out trees, but the environmentalists are also here to put it back.”

Currently, there are several varieties of tree species in the nursery in the botanical garden of ArcelorMittal Liberia with most of them already in readiness for transplanting.

In 2011, ArcelorMittal-Liberia launched a Biodiversity Conservation Program (BCP) to directly respond to the destruction of the Nimba forest. Since its inception, ArcelorMittal Liberia has invested over $5 million USD into the BCP.  

The BCP utilizes a comprehensive multi-stakeholder consultation approach, ensuring engagement at various levels in order to develop and implement sustainable mitigation plans.

To achieve this, several memorandums of understanding have been signed between ArcelorMittal and the Liberian Forestry Development Authority for joint support and management of the forests in the Nimba Mountains.

Working with local communities, tailored interventions, and programming activities by ArcelorMittal Liberia to protect the environment have generated a positive impact on the conservation of the forest and the protection of threatened and endangered species in the Nimba Mountain Range.

Through the BCP, local hunters who once posed a threat to the survival of endangered species are being transformed into ambassadors for the protection of wildlife, while farmers have been trained into, and are now practicing more sustainable and environmentally friendly conservation agriculture farming techniques.

The two main components of the BCP focus on agricultural intensification and forest conservation, working with the one to achieve the other.

In forest conservation, the program assists the communities and the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) of Liberia to develop an improved model of joint forest management while the agricultural intensification activity helps farmers reduce the practice of shifting cultivation through the introduction of low-technology improvement to ensure food security.

In forest conservation, the program assists the communities and the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) of Liberia to develop an improved model of joint forest management while the agricultural intensification activity helps farmers reduce the practice of shifting cultivation through the introduction of low-technology improvement to ensure food security.

AML Releases US$60,000 to Farmers for Resettlement

Farmers from Sehyee-Geh and other mines communities undergoing training in organic fertilizer production

For the fourth time this year, ArcelorMittal Liberia has disbursed resettlement packages to farmers and farmland owners amounting to up to US$60,000 (Sixty Thousand United States Dollars).

Floyd Morgan, AML Finance Officer working on the payment indicated that since 2013, the company has continued to pay resettlement compensations to farmers in Nimba and will continue to do so, as long as its operations impact the farmlands of locals.

At least 18 farmers from Gbapa town benefited from the latest round of payment of resettlement packages.

The beneficiaries have land close to Gangra and Tokadeh mining sites and safety zones.

One of the beneficiaries (who did not want to be named) said: “I am happy today for ArcelorMittal to make payment for my area.  My farm was affected by rock crushing and the crops that I had there were counted and paid for today.  I still have land that the company will work on in the future and I am sure of getting something (compensation) still. I am happy for what I got today; it will help to augment some things I need to meet as family’s needs.”

Since May 2022, AML has paid resettlement compensation to 123 farmers in the Gangra and Yuelliton belts.  Batch one of the recipients was 50 farmers in the Yuelliton 500-meter Buffer Zone, while the second batch listed 23 farmers affected by sediment flow near Gangra, and batch three contained 50 farmers in the Yuelliton Buffer Zone.

Jerry Fumba, Resettlement Supervisor, says there are 764 people still pending to be resettled in the Yuelliton area, where active operation is currently taking place.

Fumba said while AML maintains high standards and is observing best practices, some locals continue to move into the high bushes, planting crops in demarcated and other areas.  He described the such act as dishonesty by some individuals bent on creating bottlenecks in the resettlement process.

“This is one of our biggest challenges. Most times people get a tipoff about our plans to start work in a new area. While we were clearing Gangra, not knowing they had invaded Yuelliton with crops and we don’t know who told them we would go there, and what you see there are not real farms but just something to get the company to pay money to them.  We complained to the local government through the Mines Resettlement Coordination Committee (MRCC), but it yielded very little result” said Fumba.

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