Officials and police from the city of Lázaro Cardenas, México, have deployed personnel at the ArcelorMittal integrated steelmaking complex in that city, accusing the Luxembourg-based steelmaker of being behind in taxes and licensing. The large complex includes four electric arc furnaces (EAFs).
According to a statement posted to the ArcelorMittal México website, the city officials and police “using force, entered our facilities without an order being issued to partially close our facilities.” The same statement says the Lázaro Cardenas city council has accused the company of “a series of irregularities, such as not having an operating license [or] an Internal Civil Protection Program, and presenting debts in the payment of property tax.”
A July 27 report on the website of India-based SteelGuru says the government of Lazaro Cardenas has “demanded a retroactive payment of 130 million Mexican pesos ($5.7 million).”
ArcelorMittal says the city carried out the closure maneuvers despite lacking support from the government of the state of Michoacán, where it is located. “Since July 11 of this year, the 5th judge of the District of the State of Michoacán granted ArcelorMittal México an injunction against any act of closure by the city council.”
The steelmaker says rather than being in legal trouble itself, city officials are the ones violating existing Mexican legal principles. “The municipal authorities who have ordered and carried out these acts fall into contempt for having violated the instructions of the district court and are affecting the guarantees of legal security, and also the general interest of society regarding the rule of law. Said act of disobedience has serious consequences for public officials, given the intimidating actions that these authorities have been taking against ArcelorMittal.”
Adds the steelmaker, “ArcelorMittal México [will] continue to work to meet the requirements of our clients as well as to maintain itself as a source of employment and well-being for the 8,000 families of Lázaro Cardenas and their communities, as well as for the more than 50,000 indirect jobs that we generate through our operations.”
ArcelorMittal describes the Lázaro Cardenas integrated steel complex as producing steel slabs and bars “for both domestic use and export.” The complex has the capacity to produce 4 million tons of liquid steel per year using four electric arc furnaces, according to the firm’s website.