Thursday 6th March, 2008

 

ArcelorMittal cleans up its act

 
 
 
 
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Luciano Lopes, chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal.
Photo: RISHI RAGOONATH

BY SANDRA CHOUTHI

sandy(@ttol.co.tt

ArcelorMittal Pt Lisas Ltd has promised an ease in the air pollution from its plant which drove the Pt Lisas Industrial Port Development Corporation (Plipdeco) to file an official complaint with to the Environmental Management Authority (EMA).

The assurance was given by Luciano Lopes, chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal.

Lopes said the company outlined its dust-reduction action plan to Plipdeco president Roger Traboulay and members of his management team last October.

Lopes said he expects 80 per cent of the emissions to be reduced when all the work is completed.

“We are talking about US$7 million, US$7.6 million, to be spent this year on environment issues, quality and safety.

“US$3.6 million in the short term and US$4 million to be spent during the year,” said Lopes, who is from Brazil.

The ArcelorMittal boss said he told Traboulay, “This is not a false promise.”

He said the installation of a dust collection system would be completed by February 27.

Dust is generated when material is dumped into the hatches of the vessels which call at its port, Lopes said.

He said from the warehouse to the vessels, there are two transfer points: one to the belt conveyor and the other to ship loading.

The company has tried many different types of dust collection systems.

Lopes said installation of new systems to curtail air pollution is being done by Taggart Global Trinidad Ltd, whose officials wrote to Traboulay on February 25, outlining developments in refurbishing the bag house system.

“The repairs to bag house one was expected to be finished by March 2. I was there on Saturday and it was very, very good. And the bag house No 2 is to be completed by March 10.”

The letter was accompanied by photos of the dust collection system in effect. The system was tested last week.

Lopes showed the Business Guardian photos taken on February 25 of the systems in place, which he said had been finished before the deadline date.

Lopes said the hiring of Taggart was on stream before Plipdeco filed its complaint with the EMA.

Lopes said Taggart Global, LLC, has more than a 45 per cent global share in materials handling, and more than 60 per cent of the US market.

He said the company sought and obtained the best for the job.

“We did not try to get a local company or some uncertain results,” said Lopes, who took over in October 2007.

ISO140001 certification

Arcelor and Mittal Steel merged in 2006 following a bitter and hostile corporate takeover bid for SA by steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.

Lopes, CEO of the Trinidad plant, said the company intends to get ISO140001 certification by year’s end.

Lopes said ArcelorMittal has three different systems:

n Safety in compliance with OSHA standards

n We have the quality system that complies with ISO90001

n Then you have the environment in compliance with ISO140001

He said collective action must be put in place not only for new equipment.

“We are talking about quality, environment and safety.”

He said the money the company plans to spend in 2008 will be devoted to establishing operational safety and environmental condition of its equipment.

The complaint

Plipdeco lodged an official complaint about air pollution emanating from the steel plant on its estate on February 15 with the EMA.

Lopes said he was surprised to learn Plipdeco had complained to the EMA as the two parties had been discussing an action plan.

The complaint file sent to the EMA included aerial photographs showing dark and sometimes orange clouds of steel filings filling the air.

Alicia Charles, communications manager at the EMA, stated in the February 21 issue of the Business Guardian that the complaint had been forwarded to the Occupational Safety and Health Authority.

Charles said the air pollution rules are not in place to allow the EMA to “institute enforcement action.”

 

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