Ilvo, it is up to the government to choose its own industrial policy

The plant fromIlva from Taranto is a classic example of a desert cathedral that was born at the end of the 1950s from the political will, when steel produced in a complete cycle was no longer needed in Italy. We are dealing with a kind of tragedy announcedcompounded by the 60-year-old environmental disasters caused by politics and to which politics are now called upon to respond.

A system that was already born in a crisis. Taranto was designed as an operation create jobs in the south and the choice of the integral cycle was preferred to the production of pipes for oil pipelines because it guaranteed the hiring of more labor. Plant ownedIrish through Finsider gets into a crisis in the early 1970s, a few years after its opening, when the company was struggling with excess production capacity. And it is no coincidence that in Finsider’s bankruptcy, the biggest debts were those incurred by the Taranto plant.

Attempts to restart. First they tried to restore it Coastwho took over with privatization, and then Indians from ArcelorMittalit arrived after the intervention of justice due to environmental disasters without success, because the production of integral cycle steel in Taranto continues to cost a lot. At the initial boundaries of the establishment (structural problems, expensive labor force, geographical location), environmental costs were associated they differ, for example, from those that Arcelor Mittal, the current major shareholder, will find in Asia, where laws are more relaxed in this regard.

Shareholders. Today, the Indian group owns 62% from Acciaierie d’Italiawhich, in addition to Taranto, includes other factories, including those in Genoa, Conigliano, Novi Ligure, Racconigi, Legnaro and Paderno Dugnano, all also powered by Taranto steel. The remaining 38% is owned by Invitaliadevelopment agency that is under Ministry of Economy and is led Bernardo Mattarellanephew of the president of the republic.

The situation is on the brink of an abyss. Until now ArcelorMittal invested 1.8 billion euros in the capital account Italian steel mills and another 200 million euros for the purchase of raw materials in an extremely difficult situation, because after the confiscation of the plants the group ceased to be funded, because these plants were given as collateral to banks to obtain credit. This situation caused a short circuit because without cash it was difficult to buy raw materials and energy operate blast furnaces.

Environmental and decarbonisation plan. Furthermore, the entire plant must be environmentally compliant and fully decarbonised until 2028. In fact, given the current emissions legislation, if you want to produce by releasing C02 into the air, you will have to face additional costs that add to the already low efficiency of the Taranto.

Who puts in the money? This results in the need for additional investments ArcelorMittal is no longer willing to face, also because when the sharing agreement was signed with Invitationsthe state committed to providing resources of up to 2 billion, but only 350 million euros have been paid to date.

Now it’s about what the Italian government wants to do, what kind of industrial policy he wants to pursue, or whether he still wants integrated cycle steel production to remain in Italy, perhaps only in Taranto. And it is clear that in order to maintain this supply chain 1) or the state invests directlyas in the times of IRI, 2) or allows private individuals to operatewhile respecting environmental parameters and the health of people who live in the vicinity of the plant.

Why we need integral cycle steel. Steel with an integral cycle is obtained using raw materials (iron ore and fossil coal), is of higher quality and allows the production of rolled products in the form of rolls for the construction of trains, vehicles, ships, household appliances, packaging and pipes.

In contrast, steel that is obtained from scrap offers a lower quality, cannot be used in all industries and is mostly used to make rails, pipes, beams and rods for the construction industry.

Demand for steel. Italy, which has an annual requirement of 29 million tons of steel, produces 23 millionmuch recycling and little integral cycle. Taranto she stopped at 4 million tonswhen its production could be at full capacity 10 million tons. In effect, Taranto would allow Italy to meet its need for high-end steel without having to depend on imports from countries such as China and Russia.

Election time. The Italian government should decide once and for all to respect the environment and the health of the people who live around the plant. And it would not be bad – but here we are in the field of utopia – for his decision to be coordinated with Europe to have a common raw materials policy capable of facing global scenarios. Not by chance, in the 1960s, a united Europe was born on the basis of Czech, European Steel Coal Community.

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