ArcelorMittal Liberia

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ArcelorMittal Liberia made history on 23 September, 2011 when the company's first shipment of iron ore left Liberia for Asturias in Northern Spain, reviving the country's iron ore industry after 20 years of absence from the global stage. Today, activity at the port is robust with 80 full-time employees, primarily Liberians, who operate everything from the yellow machines, excavators, conveyor belts, to the ship loaders.

Establishing the Liberia mining project required ArcelorMittal to make substantial investments in three separate, but equally important areas. The mine was the primary objective, followed by the rail and finally, the last link in the export chain, the port.

The very foundation of the iron ore pier was subject to intense engineering scrutiny, and the structure was literally disassembled and re-engineered. New sheet piling was installed, with cross-bolts securing the quay wall. Backfilling, compaction and load testing of the finished structure was carried out in quick order, and while this was going on, the other parts of the project started to arrive.

The locomotives were brought in completely assembled and landed straight onto the railway line.

Massive slabs of concrete were poured and allowed to cure. Over 5,500 cubic metres of reinforced conrete was cast to create the loading quay.

The massive conveyor system that carries the ore to the stockpile was constructed in parallel with this.

At the port, the arriving loaded wagons are emptied by excavators into hoppers that discharge onto a conveyor belt, carrying the ore to an undercover stockpile area. It is important that the ore stays covered and dry because of the high rainfall in Liberia.

Significant at the ArcelorMittal Liberia port is the use of transhipment, a two vessel process used to mitigate the country's heavy rains. During the dry months, iron ore is loaded on to a transhipment vessel which loads to larger ocean going vessels, with a capacity of up to 200,000 tons that carries the ore to customers around the globe.

By 2015, a new rail mounted ship loader with a capacity of up to 8,000 tons of iron ore per hour will be completed to meet 15 million tons per year shipping target