Our mining business is one of the pillars of ArcelorMittal’s growth strategy. The direct shipping ore (DSO) mined in phase one of the mining project is shipped in its raw form at an average of 60% FE to buyers around the world. The Liberia mining project is also unique to ArcelorMittal's mining portfolio in that this was the first greenfield mine the company operated. This means that we must conduct sustainable mining, always keeping protection of the environment at the top of our minds.
The iron ore mining process is an exciting one to watch, from the blasting stage to the loading of trains for passage to the Port of Buchanan. Liberia's mine, considered one the most beautiful mining environments in the world, has a 2016 production target of 3 million tons of iron ore.
The mining operation is comprised of three key components – mine, crushing plant and maintenance. There is massive support force behind this team which includes technical services, quality control, safety and health including the ArcelorMittal Hospital, environmental team, human resources and training, procurement, estate, communications and corporate responsibility.
Training is a major component of what we do; therefore, the company has invested largely in building the capacity of its Liberia workforce.
Phase two – the concentrator plant
The Liberia phase 2 project to invest $1.7 billion to construct 15 million tonnes of concentrate capacity and associated infrastructure has been delayed. This follows the contractor’s declaration of force majeure on August 8, 2014 due to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.
Given the project delays and ensuing rapid deterioration of iron ore prices, the Company is assessing its options to progress with this project. Phase 1 operations are continuing as normal at this time and to date have not been affected by the Ebola situation in Liberia.
Phase one mainly involves a procedure called DSO or "direct shipping ore" a process in which the ore is mined and shipped in its natural state.
The Tokadeh Mountain is one massive heap of high quality iron ore and is situated near the town of Yekepa. The chemical properties of the ore are tested at the advanced laboratory to ensure that strict customer requirements are met. It is from Tokadeh that the ore is transported by rail to Buchanan for eventual shipment out of Liberia.