The Ebola outbreak was a significant disruption to our mining business during 2014. We helped to mobilize an effective response to the disease, contributed medical, financial and other resources to the wider community, and worked with other private sector organizations in the country to press for a coordinated international response including international aid agencies.
Our first priority throughout was the continued safety of our people. As soon as the outbreak first became apparent, we worked very hard to understand the virus and make sure that our facilities were ready to deal with it. This included providing thermoflash scanners to test for fever in all employees and visitors to our Liberian locations, and distributing full sets of personal protective equipment to our own hospitals and other hospitals and clinics in Nimba, Buchanan and Monrovia.We also constructed isolation units in Buchanan and Yekepa. We supported this with an extensive communications campaign to ensure our employees knew what action to take to minimize the risk of contamination. Ebola awareness sessions were held in early 2014 by a leading infection-prevention and control expert, Professor Adriana Duse, which helped our hospital staff, employees and communities better understand the disease and establish procedures to prevent it from spreading.We brought on board our own infectious disease expert nurse, who worked closely with our hospital teams. One of our employees tragically contracted Ebola in July and later died. But crucially, as a result of the rigorous efforts of our Liberian colleagues, none of our employees on our concession has been infected to date.
The anticipated Phase 2 expansion plans, to move production from 5 to 15mtpa was suspended in light of contractor’s declaration of force majeure on August 8, 2014 due to the Ebola virus disease coupled with an ensuing rapid deterioration of iron ore prices.
Due to the unprecedented scale of the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, the need for a coordinated and massive global response was identified and international institutions, organizations, governments, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector mobilized as part of these efforts. In August 2014, ArcelorMittal initiated the forming of the “Ebola private sector mobilisation group” (EPSMG), a coalition of more than 80 companies to align private sector capability with the international Ebola response.
ArcelorMittal was recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative for its leadership in responding to the 2014 outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, which is now accepted as the most extensive outbreak in the nearly four-decade history of the disease.