Taranto tribunal orders blast furnace shutdown

A tribunal in Taranto has rejected an appeal made by the extraordinary commissioners of former Ilva, now ArcelorMittal Italia, to postpone the shutdown of blast furnace no. 2 at the site. This is in order to carry out remedial work to ensure safety. The tribunal has rejected the appeal because the risks for workers who operate the continuous casting line of blast furnace n. 2 are still high, Kallanish hears from sources close to the matter.

The shutdown of BF no. 2 is scheduled for 13 December. The commissioners however will appeal again before this takes place. The tribunal accepted the appeal to postpone the shutdown on 10 October and had given a three-month deadline to carry out works. The order by the authorities to shut down the furnace was passed in early July (see Kallanish 10 July) and followed a fatal accident that happened in 2015.

This is complicating the already difficult negotiations between ArcelorMittal Italia and the Italian government. Without BF no. 2, production in Taranto will fall dramatically, putting the plant at further risk of closure.

The Italian government had meanwhile rejected the industrial plan submitted by ArcelorMittal last week. This intends to cut half of Ilva’s workforce by 2023 when the company proposes to idle blast furnace No. 2 and launch an electric arc furnace at the Taranto site.