September 22, 2016 / 2:48 AM / 2 years ago

Brazil court blocks license for ThyssenKrupp Rio CSA steelmill

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - A judge in Brazil prohibited the state of Rio de Janeiro from renewing an operating license for ThyssenKrupp AG’s Cia Siderurgica do Atlantico steelmill, prosecutors said in a statement on Wednesday.

Tuesday’s injunction, by judge Natascha Maculan Adum Dazzi of the state’s Justice Tribunal, aimed to give courts time to evaluate other injunction requests seeking to require a new study of the mill’s environmental and health impacts.

Mill officials did not respond to telephone calls from Reuters outside business hours to seek comment.

The 5-million-tonne a year steel-slab mill in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro has relied on pre-operating licenses since it opened in 2010.

Cia Siderurgica do Atlantico has been plagued by problems since it was built. Planned during Brazil’s commodities boom, it opened after construction problems and delay to be hit by a global glut of steel.

People were angered by dust, soot, and particulate problems that plagued the mill in its early years and led to fines and court-ordered shutdowns. Residents complained of problems caused by the pollution, from respiratory woes to contaminated water.

The 5.3-billion-euro ($5.9-billion) mill, at the time Brazil’s biggest foreign investment ever, became a loss maker for ThyssenKrupp, which tried to sell it, but received no acceptable offers.

This year, Vale SA, which owned 27 percent of the mill and had a long-term iron-ore supply contract, sold its stake to ThyssenKrupp for a “token” amount.

Prosecutors launched their current action in July. (The case number in the Rio de Janeiro Justice Tribunal is 0243788-19.2016.8.19.0001) ($1=$1.1191 euros) (Reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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