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Steel major ILVA to continue production at Italian plant

03 Dec 2012 16:26:17 | edcm

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Italy's largest steelmaker and carbon emitter ILVA will be allowed to continue production at its flagship Taranto plant for the entire length of a preliminary inquiry into its pollution.

The government announced this in a decree on Friday following a meeting with unions, local authorities and company's representatives.

After a judge ordered the precautionary seizure of the output from the "cold" part of the plant, the company closed it down last week (see EDCM 29 November 2012). The "hot" part of the plant has been under precautionary seizure since July as part of the inquiry a measure that the company has appealed but operations continue.

Metal unions jointly warned the closure would lead to at least 5,000 redundancies, with more following because of a cascade effect on the plants depending on the Taranto facility for supply.

According to the country's phase III national implementation measures (NIMs) plan, the site is due to receive 15.5m EU allowances (EUAs) annually for the period 2013-2020 (see EDCM 31 July 2012).

The government said in a statement on Friday following a cabinet meeting that the decree aims to ensure continued production at the plant and safeguard employment, while fully respecting health and environment protection needs.

The government backed the AIA environmental permit granted in October by the environment ministry in its decree, but added if the company fails to comply with the requirements set out in it, ILVA could be fined.

"We ruled that ILVA will operate the plant and that it is authorised to continue production and sale for the entire period of validity of AIA," the government said.

An independent third party will be appointed to check how the implementation of the clean-up work is going. Furthermore, the environment ministry will have to report to parliament on the issue every six months.

ILVA has always denied that emissions from the plant led to higher mortality in the area. SM

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