Channel NewsAsia

ArcelorMittal stops work at Liberia mine due to Ebola

ArcelorMittal on Friday (Aug 8) said it had halted work to expand its iron ore mines in Liberia after staff were evacuated due to concerns about the Ebola epidemic ravaging the country.

PARIS: ArcelorMittal on Friday (Aug 8) said it had halted work to expand its iron ore mines in Liberia after staff were evacuated due to concerns about the Ebola epidemic ravaging the country.

The mining giant said contractors working to expand its Yekepa and Buchanan mines in the west African country "have declared force majeure and are moving people out of the country".

"We are currently assessing the potential impact on the project schedule," ArcelorMittal said in a statement, adding that current output from the mines is unaffected.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday (Aug 8) declared the killer Ebola epidemic that has killed nearly 1,000 people in west Africa an international health emergency.

Liberia is among the countries engulfed by the deadliest-ever outbreak of Ebola, with soldiers in the worst-affected areas setting up road blocks to stop travel to the capital.

"Clearly the priority for Liberia and other affected countries right now is to contain and ultimately stop this current outbreak of Ebola," said Bill Scotting, chief executive of ArcelorMittal Mining, in a statement.

The miner said it hopes to restart work to expand its Liberia mines as soon as possible, with the aim of tripling output to 15 million tonnes by the end of next year.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia