The Changing Face of Mining Projects

This paper outlines the past and present history of the ArcelorMittal Western Range Iron Ore Project (WRIOP) in Liberia, West Africa. Current mining operations produce up to 4 million tpa of DSO (Direct Shipping Ore) through an early revenue project, the next phase is already being implemented to produce 15 million tpa of sinter feed, AMEC are the EPCM contractor and also undertook the Feasibility Study. Also discussed are the job and education opportunities, biodiversity protection, the challenges encountered during the project planning and execution phases including those in a country still recovering from a devastating civil war. ArcelorMittal has installed a number of facilities as part of its “social contract” including hospitals, schools and other social infrastructure, the college alone has close to 900 pupils and the teachers are paid for by ArcelorMittal. Projects such as the WRIOP have the potential to create employment for the local population in an area where subsistence farming is the norm, unemployment statistics have little or no meaning. The first jobs came with the rehabilitation of the existing railway line from the mining area in Nimba county to the port of Buchanan, other job and training opportunities have arisen from the infrastructure and operational requirements that a complex mining project brings to the area.
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