ArcelorMittal SA agrees on fine to settle environmental dispute

JOHANNESBURG, June 10 (ANA) – Steel manufacturing company ArcelorMittal South Africa said on Wednesday a plea agreement between itself and prosecutors relating to a charge of exceeding hydrogen sulfide (H2S) minimum emissions standards at its coke making plant in 2016 had been accepted by the court.

In a statement, ArcelorMittal SA said it had been sentenced to a fine and a further payment to the department of environmental affairs totaling R3.64 million.

“We have fully cooperated with the investigation and are pleased that the matter has been finalised, avoiding a lengthy and expensive trial that would not have been in anyone’s interest,” chief executive officer Kobus Verster said.

He said while the company acknowledged that emissions at its Vanderbijlpark plant had exceeded permissible H2S levels for a period of time in the past, it had taken steps to attempt to address this “but unfortunately the initiatives we implemented did not adequately resolve the problem”.

“However, we have subsequently made a significant investment into a sustainable solution, which was acknowledged by the authorities,” he added.

Hydrogen sulfide is a gas commonly found during the drilling and production of crude oil and natural gas as well as in wastewater treatment and utility facilities and sewers. It is produced as a result of the microbial breakdown of organic materials in the absence of oxygen

ArcelorMittal SA said it was focused on improving its environmental performance and had established an additional executive management structure and process to monitor performance.

– African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa