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ArcelorMittal steel production factory, Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Description

The steel factory ArcelorMittal Zenica is owned by the world largest steel producer – the ArcelorMittal Corporation. The factory, originally state-owned was privatized and Arcelor-Mittal is now the main shareholder, with the government owning a symbolic share.

In July 2008, the factory restarted integrated steel production after the facilities were damaged and closed down during the Yugoslavian civil war in the 1990s. ArcelorMittal Zenica produces hot rolled products (rebars, wire rod, mesh, lattice girders, and classic construction armature) mainly for the Balkan, EU and North African markets. The town is located in a small, narrow valley – 14 kilometres from Janić to Vranduk, and is in between two mountains that are less than 2 kilometres apart. Because of this from November to February, a toxic cloud forms over the city which traps all the substances rising from the chimneys of steel plants and the other factories. Since 2008, the analyses of air quality showed that pollution in Zenica was exceeding EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina standards, often reaching alarming levels. An increase in the number of cancer diseases among the population of Zenica has also been recorded according to a 2011 report on the population's health, conducted by the Cantonal Institute for Public Health. The report revealed some alarming statistics: In the period between 2002 and 2011, tumors have become the second leading cause of death among residents with a striking 20%. According to the report, the number of cancer patients increased from 892 persons in 2002 to 1,888 in 2010 and 1,774 in 2011. The number of cancer patients has increased by the hundreds each year, and especially from 2007 onward, i.e. since the full production of steel was resumed [1] however there are diverging opinions about how much of the epidemic can be blamed on the steel plant.

In December 2012, after a several years of sending demand letters for installation of filters in the plants, the citizens of Zenica organised a large protest attended by several thousand people. Citizens demand filters for the smoke stacks to reduce toxic gases and heavy metals; as well as an independent, publicly- controlled center for monitoring emissions led by the local university and the local government. The latter would be supplemented by a public mechanism of measuring the emissions as well as an alarm system that would alert the population whenever emissions exceed safety limits [2]. On the 15th of November 2013, ArcelorMittal, has finally installed a filter in blast furnace and proudly announced this would lower their emissions below the acceptable levels. In this way the company admitted they have been breaking the law over the years. They did this at the official ceremony attended by representatives of cantonal and local authorities in charge of making and enforcing those laws. Citizens considered ArcelorMittal should not be acknowledged for installing the filter, as the damage has already been done. However, the company failed to give an apology to the citizens for doing so. The citizens wonder why this was not done before, as the investment of 12 million BAM ($ 8,500,000) for the filters represent a low level investment to ArcelorMittal, having in mind it is a third most profitable company in Bosnia. Even though the installation of the filter should have kept the pollution within the prescribed legal norms, on 17th of December 2013, the measuring station in Zenica have recorded 1,392 mg of SO2 in the air. According to Environmental Protection Department of the Municipality of Zenica, citizens have great impact on the elevated concentrations of SO2 in the air and they were advised to minimize burning coal for heating, and use of the family vehicle. Samir Lemeš from EJO Eko Forum has responded that citizens of Zenica burn coal as the alternative to central heating as ArcelorMittal (who provides heating for the municipality) has the highest heating costs in the region. The Municipality claims they cannot control the pollution coming from ArcelorMittal as it is in jurisdiction of the federal environmental inspection.

In 2015, NGO "Eko forum" filed a criminal charges against the company and the relevant federal authorities given the continuous high level of air pollution and the fact that their comments and suggestions in the process of ArcelorMittal environmental permit renovation were ignored. This is the first charge for environmental crimes in B&H. The plant was operating without some of the required environmental permits since December 2014, other permits expired in November 2015. In January 2016, another lawsuit was filed against the Federal ministry of Environment and Tourism of B&H, this time by the authorities of the city of Zenica.  

Basic Data

NameArcelorMittal steel production factory, Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
CountryBosnia and Herzegovina
ProvinceZenica-Doboj Canton
SiteZenica
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Metal refineries
Specific CommoditiesCentral heating
Steel

Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsProduction capacity= 1,000,000 tonnes of steel

Employees= 3,000 people

The plant produced 700,000 tonnes in 2012.

ArcelorMittal acquired 51 per cent of BH Steel in August 2004. As part of the agreement with the government of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Kuwaiti Investment Agency, ArcelorMittal agreed to invest $80 million in new share capital, $65 million in working capital and a further $135 million on new plant and equipment over ten years.

Data from the Register of plants and pollution of the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism -made publicly available in 2016 in a joint activity by several B&H's NGOs including Eko forum-, show that Mittal factory sent a total of 815,098 tons of coal in in 2014, which resulted in 4.5 million kilograms of CO2 released into the atmosphere. This is 40 times bigger amount of coal than used for households heating in Zenica and 29 times more than a total amount of coal from all sources (households and other industrial polluters).

Mittal release in the atmosphere around 375,000 kg of SO2 monthly.
Project Area (in hectares)50,000
Level of Investment (in USD)280,000,000
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population150,000
Start Date2008
Company Names or State EnterprisesArcelor Mittal from Luxembourg
Relevant government actorsThe City of Zenica; Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Ministry of Environment Protection of Bosnia and Herzegovina
International and Financial InstitutionsEuropean Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) - In 2005 approved a 25 million euros loan to ArcelorMittal for improving its production.
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersEko forum Zenica http://www.ekoforumzenica.ba/; Farmers association of the Zenica-Doboj Canton; Czech NGO "Arnika" http://www.english.arnika.org/

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Industrial workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Trade unions
Women
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
On line petition https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/local_government_of_the_city_Zenica_BH_and_managers_of_ArcelorMittal_decrease_air_pollution_in_Zenica/, social media activism

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Noise pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Air pollution
Potential: Groundwater pollution or depletion
OtherThe pollution in Zenica is easily perceived as the city’s windows and balconies are constantly covered in black dust. PM 10 and SO2 have repeatedly exceeded 'alert' levels where according to the The Federation of BiH’s air pollution legislation, the acceptable concentration of sulfur-dioxide in the air is 350 micrograms, and Zenica’s air reached 1,392 mg per cubic meter. In addition to these harmful pollutants Zenica citizens are most concerned about carcinogenic air pollutant benzene and volatile organic compounds.
Health ImpactsVisible: Deaths, Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
OtherIn the industrial district of Zenica the number of tumors have increased alarmingly over the last ten years.

Chronic pneumonia and bronchitis, sarcoidosis.
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood
OtherHeavy metals (lead, cadmium and arsenic) have been found in vegetables and milk produces in Zenica. Many people in this area live form selling vegetables.

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseEnvironmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (undecided)
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Application of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesThe citizens of Zenica demand emissions monitoring by third party, and installation of filters on the plant according to the current legislation that proclaims use of the best available technology (BAT) in order to comply with environmental standards and to obtain a proper environmental permit. The closing of the plant is not being considered as it supplies Zenica with heating and provides employment to number of people from the area.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The claims of the company from 2008, that the plant will comply with EU environmental standards by 2012, never came true. Finally, on 15th of November 2013, ArcelorMittal, has installed a filter ($ 8,500,000) in blast furnace. However, on 17th of December 2013, the concentration of SO2 in the air reached a record 1,392 mg. The pollution continued in 2014 and 2015, while company claims that the delay in improvements of its ecological performance is caused by the fact that it inherited very old equipment and huge technological challenges hard to overcome fast. In addition, in the past years steel plants in Europe faced serious market challenges, which further hinders investment in environmental improvements. The entire process is helped by the fact that implementation and compliance with the Environmental laws in B&H is at a low level.

Sources and Materials

Legislations

Laws in the field of environment protection, Bosnia and Herzegovina
http://www.asser.nl/upload/eel-webroot/www/documents/10019_newsletter_srbocroat_2[1].pdf

Pročitajte Smajlovićevo pismo Ministarstvu okoliša
http://www.zenicablog.com/procitajte-smajlovicevo-pismo-ministarstvu-okolisa/

Integrisani registar zagađivača
http://www.eko.ba/

Links

Citizens of Zenica protest Mittal pollution
http://globalactiononarcelormittal.blogspot.com/2011/02/citizens-of-zenica-protest-mittal.html

CEE Bank Watch network: Hundreds to protest against ArcelorMittal in Bosnia and Herzegovina
http://bankwatch.org/news-media/for-journalists/press-releases/hundreds-protest-against-arcelormittal-bosnia-and-herzegov

CAR lines Dec 2013, pg. 13
http://www.walshcarlines.com/pdf/nsl20136.pdf

BUKA Foto priča: Opšta opasnost u Zenici
http://www.6yka.com/novost/48386/buka-foto-prica-opsta-opasnost-u-zenici

Bosnians Protest Against Mittal Plant Pollution
http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/bosnia-s-zenica-protests-against-mittal-polution

Hiljade Zeničana u protestu: 3000 dana bez čistog zraka!
http://www.6yka.com/novost/32241/hiljade-zenicana-u-protestu-3000-dana-bez-cistog-zraka

[3] Arcelor Mittal Zenica page
http://www.arcelormittalna.com/facilities/Europe/Zenica/

ArcelorMittal: Going nowhere slowly. A review of the global steel giant's environmental and social impacts in 2008-2009, pg.17
http://bankwatch.org/documents/ArcelorMittal_Going_Nowhere.pdf

[2] Zenica, Bosnia’s heart of steel
file:///Users/apple/Downloads/CeeArticle_CMS1349427513288%20(1)%20(1).pdf

[1] Dying of Pollution in Zenica
http://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Regions-and-countries/Bosnia-Herzegovina/Dying-of-pollution-in-Zenica-125737

Blog Jasmin Mujanović-The Demands of the People of Bosnia-Herzegovina (English), Zenica
http://www.jasminmujanovic.com/1/post/2014/02/the-demands-of-the-people-of-tuzla-sarajevo-english.html

MITTAL OBEĆAO ZENIČANIMA: Od ponedjeljka prestajemo sa kršenjem zakona
http://zurnal.ba/novost/17595/mittal-obecao-zenicanima-od-ponedjeljka-prestajemo-sa-krsenjem-zakona

Zabrinjavajuće zagađenje zraka u Zenici: Rekordne vrijednosti sumpor dioksida
http://www.klix.ba/vijesti/bih/zabrinjavajuce-zagadjenje-zraka-u-zenici-rekordne-vrijednosti-sumpor-dioksida/131217056

Teška industrija u Zenici i Tuzli zagadila prehrambene artikle
http://www.vecernji.ba/teska-industrija-u-zenici-i-tuzli-zagadila-prehrambene-artikle-1064265

Zenica: I jedu i prodaju zagađene špinat, mrkvu i salatu
http://banjaluka.net/zenica-i-jedu-i-prodaju-zagadene-spinat-mrkvu-i-salatu/

Air Pollution is Choking Bosnia, Experts Warn
http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/air-pollution-reaching-alarming-levels-in-bosnia-experts-warn-11-30-2015

Smajlović podnio tužbu protiv ministarstva okoliša i turizma FBiH
http://istinomjer.ba/smajlovic-podnio-tuzbu-protiv-ministarstva-okolisa-i-turizma-fbih/

Patria donosi detaljnu analizu: Životi Zeničana žrtvovani zarad profita ArcelorMittala
http://www.nap.ba/new/vijest.php?id=14294

ArcelorMittal Zenica Bosnia & Ostrava CZ with severe pollution issues with local communities
http://miningsee.eu/arcelormittal-zenica-bosnia-ostrava-cz-with-severe-pollution-issues-with-local-communities/

Zagađenje u Zenici: Rješavanje problema tek nakon oboljenja?
http://ba.n1info.com/a68071/Vijesti/Vijesti/Zagadjenost-zraka-u-Zenici.html

KAKO OBUZDATI ARCELOR MITTAL I GIKIL: DOK SE SVE NE PREISPITA, NI POD RAZNO, NE SADITE POVRĆE
http://www.biscani.ba/vijest/kako-obuzdati-arcelor-mittal-i-gikil-dok-se-sve-ne-preispita-ni-pod-razno-ne-sadite-povrce/22238

Najveći zagađivači u Bosni i Hercegovini: Željezara ArcelorMittal i termoelektrane Elektroprivrede BiH
http://www.eko.ba/novosti/109-najveci-zagadivaci-u-bosni-i-hercegovini-zeljezara-arcelormittal-i-termoelektrane-elektroprivrede-bih

ArcelorMittal Zenica nastavlja trovanje građana bez važećih okolišnih dozvola
http://www.eko.ba/novosti/86-arcelormittal-zenica-nastavlja-trovanje-gradana-bez-vazecih-okolisnih-dozvola

Međunarodni izvještaj otkrio da je teška industrija u Zenici i Tuzli ozbiljno zagadila prehrambene artikle
http://www.eko.ba/novosti/83-medunarodni-izvjestaj-otkrio-da-je-teska-industrija-u-zenici-i-tuzli-ozbiljno-zagadila-prehrambene-artikle

ArcelorMittal Zenica: Novi ekološki projekat trebao bi poboljšati kvalitet zraka u gradu (FOTO)
http://faktor.ba/arcelormittal-zenica-novi-ekoloski-projekat-trebao-bi-poboljsati-kvalitet-zraka-u-gradu-foto/

U Zenici dijalog o rješavanju problema zagađenja okoliša iz industrijskih postrojenja
http://visoko.co.ba/u-zenici-dijalog-o-rjesavanju-problema-zagadenja-okolisa-iz-industrijskih-postrojenja/39517/

Biggest polluters of Bosnia and Herzegovina: ArcelorMittal steelworks and Elektroprivreda power stations
http://www.english.arnika.org/press-releases/biggest-polluters-of-bosnia-and-herzegovina-arcelormittal-steelworks-and-elektroprivreda-power-stations

Najveći zagađivači u Bosni i Hercegovini: željezara ArcelorMittal i termoelektrane Elektroprivrede BiH AND Građani će napokon saznati ko zagađuje zrak u Bosni i Hercegovini
http://www.ekoforumzenica.ba/

ArcelorMittal Zenica: Naša kompanija nije jedini krivac za velike količine zagađenja
http://faktor.ba/arcelormittal-zenica-nasa-kompanija-nije-jedini-krivac-za-velike-kolicine-zagadenja/

Zenica: Zagađenje zraka ponovo se mjeri crvenim brojkama
http://faktor.ba/zenica-zagadenje-zraka-ponovo-se-mjeri-crvenim-brojkama/

ISTRAŽIVANJA DOKAZALA: Kompanija Arcelor Mittal je najveći zagađivač u Zenici!
http://www.zurnal.info/novost/19761/kompanija-arcelor-mittal-je-najveci-zagadivac-u-zenici

Media Links

On pollution in national news 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TynnFlJIsw

On pollution in national news 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-piyMDV4nI

Photo Gallery
http://www.ekoforumzenica.ba/foto.php

Arcelor Mittal Zenica Zagadjenje
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhde9mvUAvc

Zenica zagadjenje inserti
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw2QZwhtwfk

Photos Arcelormittal Zenica
http://www.ekoforumzenica.ba/foto4.php

Zenica: Najava tužbe zbog zagađenosti zraka
http://balkans.aljazeera.net/vijesti/zenica-najava-tuzbe-zbog-zagadenosti-zraka

ArcelorMittal Zenica
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n77z1tzjgXU

Krivične prijave za katastrofalno stanje okoliša u Zenici
http://www.federalna.ba/bhs/vijest/141517/terete-se-mittalovi-direktori-bivsa-ministrica-duric-tirak

ZENICABLOG: NAJVEĆI ZAGAĐIVAČI U BIH
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSdklXGFork

Other Documents

Zenica Mittal Protests From Balkan Insight
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Zenica_Mittal_protests_Dec.JPG

Zenica on 17th of Dec 2013 Alarmingly high concentration of 1,392 mg of SO2 recorded on display connected to pollution measuring station
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/131217056.2_xl.jpg

Meta Information

ContributorJovanka Spiric, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)gmail.com
Last update24/05/2016

Images

 

Zenica Mittal Protests

From Balkan Insight

Zenica on 17th of Dec 2013

Alarmingly high concentration of 1,392 mg of SO2 recorded on display connected to pollution measuring station