* New project would increase output to 15 million tonnes
* Company hopes to resume work as soon as possible
* Force majeure on new project, other operations ongoing
BRUSSELS, Aug 8 Steel and mining company
ArcelorMittal on Friday announced force majeure on a
project that is planned to triple its iron ore production in
Liberia because of the Ebola epidemic sweeping West Africa.
The World Health Organization on Friday said the epidemic
constituted an international health emergency.
ArcelorMittal, which mines and ships 5 million tonnes of
iron ore a year in Liberia, has been working on an expansion
project that would increase shipments to 15 million tonnes of
First production from the new project is planned by the end
of next year.
However, contractors working on the project have declared
force majeure and were moving people out of the country,
Declarations of force majeure are used to prevent companies
from being sued when extraordinary circumstances beyond their
control prevent the fulfilment of contractual obligations.
The company is assessing the impact on the project schedule
and hoped to restart work as soon as possible. It added the
force majeure only affects the new project and other operations
in Yekepa and Buchanan are continuing as normal.
"While the recent developments are very concerning, at
present we believe that the emergency procedures and other
measures developed and currently in place at all ArcelorMittal
sites in Liberia make it possible to continue our phase 1
operations," Bill Scotting, chief executive of ArcelorMittal
In common with other mining companies in the region,
ArcelorMittal has enforced measures to try to prevent Ebola's
ArcelorMittal, listed on stock exchanges including New York,
Amsterdam, Paris and Luxembourg, is one of the world's five
largest producers of iron ore and metallurgical coal.
In 2013, ArcelorMittal had revenue of $79.4 billion and
crude steel production of 91.2 million tonnes, while own iron
ore production reached 58.4 million tonnes.
(Reporting by Barbara Lewis in Brussels and Abhiram Nandakumar
in Bangalore and Karen Rebelo, editing by David Evans)