Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, visited workers at the former Ilva plant in Taranto during the Christmas festivities. The aim of the visit was to confirm that the authorities are working with ArcelorMittal toward a solution for the future of the steelmaker, Kallanish notes.
Before the holidays, ArcelorMittal and the Italian government announced that they had signed a memorandum of understanding to finalise a new industrial plan for the former Ilva before the end of January 2020. This relieved any immediate pressure on the situation, but some uncertainty remains as ArcelorMittal had previously highlighted the need to slash almost 4,700 jobs at the Ilva plant. This is not acceptable to the Italian authorities.
Whilst positions may become clearer in January, Conte confirmed that there will be direct involvement by the Italian state in the future of Ilva. A public entity will participate in some investments and will secure the control of the road to the relaunch of Ilva and its reduction in environmental impact by internal intervention, he added.
Both ArcelorMittal and the Italian authorities agree on the fact that Taranto will need to transform part of its steelmaking production by using EAF or DRI systems. They are nevertheless still very much out of step on the outlook for the total output of the company going forward. ArcelorMittal envisages an output of 6 million tonnes/year whilst the Italian government is looking at a volume of 8m t/y.