Prosecutors reject move to end ILVA steelworks impoundment

Europe's largest mill partially closed since July

Prosecutors reject move to end ILVA steelworks impoundment

Taranto, November 22 - Taranto prosecutors on Thursday expressed their official disapproval of a proposal by managers at the troubled ILVA steelworks to reopen the plant. A judge is set to rule on the matter as soon as this week. On Wednesday the company said that unless authorities release the plant from a court-ordered partial closure, the site will close. "The obviously unsustainable economical-financial mode of operations will inevitably lead to the definitive closure of productive activities and to the closure of the plant," ILVA officials said in a statement. The plant has been closed since July following a Taranto court's order to impound the smelting areas in order to safeguard people and the environment. Local authorities ordered the closure while legal proceedings continue against the company and its managers for generating toxic emissions that caused disease and killed several over a number of years. On November 20 lawyers for the company filed a plea with Taranto prosecutors asking the court to lift the partial shutdown orders. ILVA's request follows the Italian environment minister's approval of the company's new remediation plan, a detailed set of conditions and measures under which ILVA would be permitted to operate, called the AIA. ILVA's lawyers argue the company needs control of the impounded areas in order to execute the approved AIA remediation plan. Their request says it is impossible to perform the necessary work on the smelting areas without access to them, and that banks will not finance a company with impounded assets, sources told ANSA.

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