Recognising the importance of air quality for its employees and the local community, ArcelorMittal Spain adopted an environmental masterplan in 2018 that targets a 34% improvement in dust emissions by 2019 since 2017, and a further 22% by 2022.  

The targets were adopted as a signal of commitment. We understand that the impact we have on air, land and water – and particularly the impact of our emissions on air quality – are among the most important issues for the communities in which we work, and for our stakeholders more widely.  Wherever we operate, we aim to meet or outperform air quality regulations, work with our local communities to engender mutual understanding and trust, report data on our emissions and investigate all concerns raised so that we can act where it is required. 

Often, the local context is complex and specific sources of air quality issues – particularly in urban and industrial areas – are not easy to identify, since air emissions from one industry may be combined with those from other sectors, such as transport, domestic heating and other local industries. ArcelorMittal Spain has worked with local authorities to monitor air quality since the 1990s, and has made significant progress in improving air quality - both through better operational processes and investment in capital improvements. We are proud to say that ArcelorMittal Spain is fully compliant with all air quality permitting limits – something that is regularly certified by a third party. However, we know that air quality remains one of the key issues raised by some of our local stakeholders and we are committed to extending our efforts in this area.

Since 2011, ArcelorMittal Spain began an extensive programme of investments in environment capital projects, detailed in the table below, and as a result we have achieved a number of environmental improvements. For example, we saw a 40% reduction in the amount of ducted dust emissions per ton of steel from 2012 to 2017.

During 2017, we redoubled our efforts in Asturias and at the start of 2018, CEO Oswaldo Soares launched a comprehensive Environmental Master Plan (EMP) to employees and local stakeholders. With the twin objectives of working within the emission limits set by our operational permit, and minimising the impact of our emissions on the neighbourhood, our EMP has three key pillars: 

  1. a programme of €214 million capital investments for environmental capex projects though 26 projects planned over five years (2018-2022), detailed in the table below; 
  2. an internal programme to strengthen our capacity to improve environmental performance across our operations;
  3. a progressive stakeholder engagement plan including the establishment of regular community liaison committees.

Our internal programme involves a two-hour weekly training session for all employees with environmental responsibility or interest to keep them up to date on the latest technical and regulatory developments. Our network of environmental specialists has been strengthened with regular meetings, and the visible support of the CEO of ArcelorMittal Spain. Management procedures are reinforced, such as the root cause analysis of environmental incidents, in an approach parallel to that used to prevent safety accidents. 

All stakeholders are able to access monthly local air quality data from ArcelorMittal air quality stations. These send data in real time to an Asturias government server, which uploads it to the environmental portal. ArcelorMittal’s main emission sources (sinter Plant and PCI at this moment) are also sent in real time to the Asturias government server. In addition, we continue to engage on research to investigate the link between our steel works and local air quality, and are committed to participating in quality research to further understand this area of concern. 

We also publish an annual corporate responsibility report, in line with international sustainability reporting guidelines GRI. The 2017 report is available here.


Environmental improvement projects 2011-2016:

Key projects already implemented:

Upgrades to Gijón sinter plants:

2012 New Sinter B process electro-filter to bring dust emissions level under 40mg/Nm3

2012 New Sinter A local bag filter to bring dust emissions level under 10mg/Nm3

2012 Revamping Sinter B local electro-filter to bring dust emissions level under 30mg/Nm3

2013 New total enclosure of limestone unloading hoppers to avoid diffused emissions

2013 Surfactant application devices in beddings to avoid diffused emissions

2016 Revamping Sinter A process electro-filter to bring dust emissions level under 40mg/Nm3

2015-2017 Installation of collecting and filtering devices in relevant transference towers, to

minimise diffuse dust; Wetting devices, covering of belt conveyors, road paving,

wheel washers for trucks and other actions to avoid diffused emissions

2018 Surfectant application devices in stockhouses to avoid diffused emissions


Upgrades to Gijón steel shop:

2015 Improvement of ladle furnaces' dedusting device. Substitution of ladle furnace #1 water

  cooled roof, modification of suction ducts increasing sections and a new booster fan

to increase suction capacity

2017 Installing a pioneering 'wet scrubbing' dedusting technology that will surpass European

limits of 50mg/Nm3 and enable us to reach 20 mg/Nm3

2017 Substitution of ladle furnace #2 water cooled roof


Upgrades to Avilés coke batteries:

2013 Revamping of tar electro-filters and coke oven gas washers in by-products facilities

within Avilés coke plant

2017 Installation of respiration system pressurised with nitrogen connecting valve outlet

of tar tanks to coke oven gas collecting main to avoid emissions


Other upgrades:

2011 Installation of regenerative burners in HSM furnace to optimise sid gas combustion

and decrease CO2 emissions

2011-2012 Execution of projects to connect wastewater to general sanitation systems in Avilés

and Gijón respectively

2012 New Pinzales sewage waste water treatment plant

2013 Installation of new canopy, collecting and filerting device to treat vapours from

passivation bath in Tin Plate Mill nº2

2015 Upgrading of Sagunto waste water treatment plant

2016 New ducted emission points in Hop Dip Galvanising nº1

2016 Revamping of HCI washer system in the acid regeneration plant

2014 Relocation of ammonia sulphate plant, perfectly conditioned and waterproof, 

  close to the previous one, to avoid discharges of ammonia contaminated water

leaks to rainwater  network.

2017 Complete revamping of ammonia sulphate plant


Environmental improvement projects (Environmental Master Plan 2017-2022:

  • Investment in filter bag for Sinter Plant A, which will reduce emissions to below 10mg/m3. This equipment should be functioning by end of 2019.
  • Actions to minimise noise emissions from Sinter B cooler. These actions should be effective by the end of 2020.
  • Investment in filter bag, or equivalent technology, for Sinter Plant B planned by 2022 to reduce emissions to below 10mg/m3.
  • Investments to improve collection and suction capacity in cast house dedusting systems in both blast furnaces B and A, in 2019 and 2022 respectively, in order to avoid diffused emissions.
  • New technology to treat blast furnace gas cleaning water blowdown, which should be in operation in 2019.
  • Rainwater storm tanks in Gijón, coke plant and slag plant, to be put in operation in 2019, designed to reuse rainwater as much as possible and, subsequently, minimise water consumption and discharges.
  • Complete substitution of ducts, boilers and washing devices of converter A gas collection system and actions to improve collection capacity of local dedusting VS3, both systems in Avilés steel plant. These investments should be put in operation in 2019 and both are focused to minimise diffuse emissions.