State blocks Brazil slab project for pollution control

As Europe presses ahead with its emissions trading system European steelmakers will face costs not faced elsewhere. The industry warns this could lead to steel production moving out of Europe. However, the costs of moving to other areas can be higher than expected, including costs related to environemental regulations.

SBB 12 May Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state has blocked the expansion of Companhia Siderúrgica do Atlântico (CSA) – the Vale-ThyssenKrupp joint venture slab mill – until it finishes covering a pit used to hold hot metal, coal and gases in an emergency.

According to state environment secretary Carlos Minc, CSA has one month to fix its pollution control systems. “Until the work is complete, the construction of a third coking coal unit will continue to be stopped,” he says in a statement, noting that CSA does not hold a final operating license. “If our requirements are not complied with, the company will stop operating.”

In addition, Minc says work on the pit will prevent, in the event of future accidents, a “silvery” cloud – 70% carbon and 30% iron – from being released into the atmosphere, causing health risks to workers and residents.

CSA tells Steel Business Briefing it delivered yesterday – two days before the deadline set by the government – a plan to improve the pit. “The company is prepared to immediately start working as soon as the authorities approve the project,” CSA adds.

Regarding the announcement of the work embargo, CSA states it has not been officially notified of this decision and is in contact with the environmental authorities to better understand the objectives.

SBB observes that CSA, which has been operating for 10 months, has been fined twice by the state for air pollution – in August for R$1.2m (US$739,805) and in January for R$16.8m.


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