Facing allegations of pollution, steel giant ArcelorMittal has said 97 per cent of residues from the Florange site in France are recycled or recovered and its internal probe has concluded that there is no wrong-doing.
The statement comes amid reports by French newspaper The Repulicain Lorrain that the public prosecutor's office in Thionville has opened an investigation into the alleged acid pollution of ArcelorMittal's crassier in Florange of France.
"ArcelorMittal and all of Florange's staff work are in full compliance with our authorisations to operate and store our residues. For the past 10 years, the Florange site has considerably reduced the volume of residues deposited in the storage area and today, 97 per cent of the residues from the site are recycled or recovered," said Eric Niedziela, CEO of ArcelorMittal Atlantique and Lorraine, in a statement.
"Our internal investigation concludes that there is neither fraud nor pollution," Niedziela said.
Announcing the conclusion of the internal investigation, Niedziela stressed: "We take our responsibilities very seriously and continue to work intensively to improve treatment and recovery of our residues to reduce our environmental footprint."
The steelmaker said: "No dumping of pure acid has been done... The acid used for the pickling process is systematically regenerated and reused."
It went on to add, "No acid pollution has been recorded in or around the storage area. All the results of available analyses of the soils and waters demonstrate absence of acid spill on the zone concerned. Moreover, the groundwater and surface water analyses carried out to date around the zone also show absence of any health and environmental impact."
According to the reports by French newspaper, the investigation was on the basis of information available to the regional environment directorate.
A former interim contractor of the Suez subcontractor, transporting industrial waste from ArcelorMittal to the site of Florange, told the paper that he had been forced to pour thousands of cubic metres of acid daily into the crassier. He also accused employees of the steel producer of complicity.