Italian government fast tracks Ilva private-public partnership

A clearer definition of the new public-private partnership for troubled steelmaker ArcelorMittal Italia may be announced as early as October, Italian economic development minister Stefano Patuanelli has told unions. This comes as negotiations with ArcelorMittal are progressing, Kallanish learns from union representatives.

Workers at the Taranto site have implemented a series of strikes to protest over the plant’s near inactivity and the condition of the outdated and unreliable equipment. Unions, however, revoked the latest strike planned for 24 September after meeting Patuanelli in Rome on 23 September. Patuanelli also spoke about €3 billion ($3.5 billion) of total investment needed to modernise the plant, which should include European funds, Kallanish hears.

The Italian government has allocated €470m to becoming a shareholder in ArcelorMittal Italia, through its investment body Invitalia. The state is carrying out due diligence to determine the true value of the steelmaker, after which it will decide whether it becomes Ilva’s majority shareholder.

Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal Italia is pursuing upgrade works at the Taranto site and carrying out environmental tests. These will include further soil characterisations on the land using 3D conceptual and hydrogeological models. The aim is to collect further information to update ongoing containment works and to plan the mitigation works in the area, minimising the impact on the operation of the steelworks.

Italian energy company Eni Rewind, Eni’s environmental subsidiary, has been appointment to assist in the design of reclamation works in Taranto.

ArcelorMittal Italia also completed the replacement of converter exhausts at meltshop no.2 during the August summer break.