ArcelorMittal Poland engages local community in blast furnace restart
We share the air around us with our communities, and so it’s vital that we work with our local stakeholders when it comes to the impact of our emissions. We’ve made a commitment to be a trusted user of air, land and water, our sustainable development outcome 5. A recent move by our operations in Poland is a great example of that commitment in action.
Following a major overhaul to the blast furnace at our Krakow site, ArcelorMittal Poland was set to restart it ahead of World Youth Day, an event organised by the Catholic Church that attracts pilgrims from all over the world. But after discussion with the authorities of Krakow and Malopolska, we decided to delay the restart until after the event, which is attended by the Pope.
A blast furnace is an installation in which hot metal is made, which is then transported to the steel shop where steel is produced. A recent PLN175m upgrade to the Krakow furnace will significantly improve its environmental footprint. However, starting-up a blast furnace results in dust emissions, which can occur periodically over the first 3-4 days.
While the emissions are not considered harmful to human health – and are permitted under environmental protection law – they are visible to local onlookers. That’s why we agreed to defer the restart, as chairman of the board of directors at ArcelorMittal Poland Sanjay Samadda explains:
“The decision we have made will certainly impact our results, but we understand the importance of World Youth Day and, being a good corporate citizen, we want to contribute to its success”.
The blast furnace will now have Europe’s most modern cooling system and the two modernised electrostatic precipitators will reduce air emissions to levels compliant with European limits coming into force in 2018.
Prior to start-up of the blast furnace, ArcelorMittal Poland provided detailed information on the procedure in good time to both the Regional Environmental Protection Inspectorate and the local Crisis Management Centre, which provides information to Krakow residents on events they may be concerned about.
Our transparent approach has been welcomed by local stakeholders. “I want to thank the management of the company for its openness and for taking a good and wise decision” said Józef Pilch, the governor of Malopolska.