The Italian government will offer ArcelorMittal temporary and limited legal immunity to prevent the closure of its Ilva International SpA plant, Reuters reported Aug. 7, citing a government source.
The steelmaking giant had threatened to shut down the plant, which it acquired last year, on Sept. 6 after the government lifted legal protections for managers in case a planned environmental cleanup failed.
The new legal shield, to be enforced at the end of August, will be included in a broader decree on industrial disputes recently approved by the cabinet. It will not include provisions for deaths at work or for pollution-related illness, the source said.
The plant in the Italian city of Taranto has been blamed for hundreds of cancer-related deaths. As part of its acquisition, ArcelorMittal agreed to invest €1.1 billion to carry out a cleanup program scheduled for completion in 2023.
An Italian public prosecutor recently ordered a production halt at the mill's blast furnace number 2 as it did not comply with operational safety standards.