The Italian government and ArcelorMittal are holding negotiations on how to resolve a standoff at the European Union’s largest steel plant.
ArcelorMittal, which bought the ex-Ilva steel mill for 1.8 billion euros ($2 billion) last year, is in dispute with the government over pollution levels and the company’s legal position and protection from criminal liability, while Italy is looking for ways to keep the plant open as thousands of jobs are at stake.
The talks are aimed at forming a new industrial plan that includes production levels and a commitment to cleaning up pollution, the government said in an e-mailed statement late on Friday, released after Premier Giuseppe Conte and the finance and economic development ministers met with ArcelorMittal’s Lakshmi Mittal and Aditya Mittal in Rome.
In light of the importance of the steel mill for the Italian economy, the government is considering the possibility of state involvement in the project, it said.
The company, which pledged to invest 1.2 billion euros to improve environmental performance at the plant, has started legal proceedings against the government over its purchase and it plans to wind down production through Jan. 15. As part of the negotiations, the cabinet will ask for the postponement of a court hearing scheduled for Nov. 27 in Milan as long as regular operations and production at the mill is guaranteed.
In a separate statement on Saturday, ArcelorMittal called the meeting “constructive” and said the talks will proceed with the aim of reaching an accord on sustainable steel production.