Flanders increases investment in ArcelorMittal Ghent to decarbonise plant

The Flemish government is increasing its investment in steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal Ghent from 350 to 600 million euros, the region's Finance minister, Matthias Diependaele, told Belga on Tuesday. The investment will be used to decarbonise the steelworks.

According to Diependaele, the investment is part of a wider plan to make the steel industry in Flanders more sustainable. Making ArcelorMittal Ghent's blast furnaces CO2-neutral is essential to making the site carbon-neutral by 2050, he said.

The Flemish government decided in 2021 to support the decarbonisation process at ArcelorMittal Ghent with a loan of 350 million euros. This will be increased to 600 million euros. ArcelorMittal itself is also making a capital increase of 250 million euros through Finocas, the joint venture between the steel company and the Flemish region.

French competition

The government wants to persuade ArcelorMittal to continue investing in the Ghent plant. It is studying the costs of producing sustainable steel at its plants in Ghent and Dunkirk. The Dunkirk plant would receive large subsidies from the French government, which could threaten the future of the Ghent plant, which employs 4,500 people.

"Together with other investments and previous subsidies, we are creating a strong Flemish dossier with this capital increase," said Diependaele. "This means we can compete with Dunkirk and try to secure jobs at ArcelorMittal Ghent."

"We are creating a strong Flemish dossier with this capital increase"

The steel giant also announced on Tuesday that its engineers had launched a long-awaited pilot project to capture CO2 at the site in Ghent. They will test whether it is commercially viable to capture expelled carbon dioxide. It is the first carbon capture project in the European steel industry.

Steel blast furnaces use large amounts of fossil fuels, making the steel industry one of the world's most polluting industries. The industry is estimated to be responsible for 7-9 per cent of global CO2 emissions and is a major contributor to air pollution. ArcelorMittal has committed to produce climate-neutral steel by 2050.



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