ARCELORMITTAL had declared force majeure on a project that planned to triple its iron ore production in Liberia because of the Ebola epidemic sweeping west Africa, the steel and mining company announced on Friday. The World Health Organisation said on Friday that the epidemic constituted an international health emergency. ArcelorMittal, which mines and ships 5 million tons of iron ore a year from Liberia, has been working on an expansion project that would increase shipments to 15 million tons. First production from the new project was planned by the end of next year. Contractors were moving people out of the country, ArcelorMittal said. The company was assessing the impact on the project schedule and hoped to restart work as soon as possible. It added the force majeure only affected the new project; other operations in Yekepa and Buchanan were continuing. “While the recent developments are concerning, we believe that the emergency procedures and other measures developed and in place at all ArcelorMittal sites in Liberia make it possible to continue our phase 1 operations,” Bill Scotting, the chief executive of ArcelorMittal Mining, said. In common with other mining companies in the region, ArcelorMittal has enforced measures to try to prevent Ebola’s spread. Its shares fell 0.08 percent to close at R38.27 on the JSE on Friday. – Reuters