Rome

ILVA management present blueprint for environmental ugrades

Plan to be evaluated by experts to see if valid, chairman says

ILVA management present blueprint for environmental ugrades

Rome, November 9 - The management of ILVA, the embattled steelworks in southern Italy currently under court custody and facing obligatory environmental upgrades, on Friday presented a blueprint for the required technical and environmental improvements. "We have presented a document, a plan of action with all the requirements," said ILVA Chairman Bruno Ferrante after meeting with Environment Minister Corrado Clini. The plan "will be examined by experts to evaluate it with reference to (government standards)" he added. Clini earlier on Friday has said the government could appeal to prosecutors in Taranto if ILVA fails to obtain the necessary environmental authorization to operate. The environment ministry would initiate the legal petition, Clini said, adding that "in my opinion operations would be contrary to the law, and since the law has to be respected, we will move". Last month, Ferrante had questioned whether it would be able to adhere to the conditions necessary for ILVA to meet standards in a remediation plan known as the AIA, saying they needed to see if this was technically and economically feasible. The costs of the required environmental remediation measures have been pegged in the billions, according to unofficial estimates. The new environmental authorisation was drawn up by a group of experts on the basis of recent inspections at the plant. Other measures reportedly contained in the blueprint include a ban on the use of petroleum coke, the start of procedures to shut down six of the 10 coke plants, covering conveyor belts and mineral deposits, and doing maintenance on two of the blast furnaces. The steelworks are at the centre of a heated industrial dispute after a local preliminary-investigations judge ordered the partial closure of the plant due to long-running environmental and health concerns in July. ILVA - Italy's biggest steelmaker - and the government have been trying to keep the plant in operation while the necessary upgrades are made.

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