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  • Environmental excellence


ArcelorMittal Gent



-  Since 1990 about 165 million € has been invested in measures to combat air pollution and to minimise noise nuisance. This counts for about 75% of total environmental investments.

-   Dust emissions nowadays amount to only 10% of the dust emission levels in the late 1980’s.

-   Particulate matter in ambient air has been a hot topic over the past few years, for authorities as well. The Gent canal area is one of Flanders’ hot spots and the air quality standards for suspended matter PM10 are not always met. A study revealed that diffuse emissions have the greatest impact on the ambient air in the vicinity of our company. To coordinate all measures to minimise the diffuse dust emissions and give priority to those with the highest yield, a long-range dust reduction plan has been drawn up. Some examples of these measures are:

Raising awareness of our staff in the harbour, raw materials & internal transport department through thorough sensitisation.

  • Enclosing chutes of the conveyor belt systems.
  • Spraying water on unpaved roads during dry periods.
  • Applying a coating (crust former) on the raw material stacks during dry and windy periods to prevent wind erosion.
  • A thorough swiping programme to keep roads dust-free.
  • Avoid spilling of raw materials during handling
  • Alarm generation in case of unfavourable weather conditions (drought, wind).

-   In 2011, the room dust collecting facility in sinter plant 1 was optimised in order to be able to meet the dust ELV of 20 mg/Nm3.

-   In 2010 a new grab crane was brought into use at the quay to unload raw materials from bulk carriers. The crane is equipped with a spill plate, windscreens with spray system and automatic grab mode with filling ratio control.

-   In steel industry, sinter plants are the only major dioxin emission source. Dioxin emissions of the two sinter plants are at the level of 0,4 ng TEQ/Nm3, far below the current emission limit value of 2,5 ng TEQ/Nm3. Activated carbon is injected in the flue gases to adsorb the dioxins and subsequently the dioxins bound at the carbon are separated in the dust collecting unit. Furthermore a rigorous selection of recycled material to feed the sinter plants is in use to prevent the formation of dioxins. Dioxin emissions are monitored through an elaborate measurement programme.

All other types of emissions such as NOx, SO2 and dioxin emissions are monitored conscientiously through an elaborate measuring programme.

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-   Since 1990 about 21 million € has been invested in measures to maximise the level of water recycling and to minimise the pollution load of the water discharged. This counts for about 10% of total environmental investments.

-   In 2011 our specific water consumption amounted to 4,9 m3 per ton of liquid steel. In terms of water consumption we are amongst the best performing integrated steelworks in the world.

-   The Gent-Terneuzen canal is our main source of water. In 2011 about 20,5 million m3 of canal water were extracted and about 11,9 million  m3 were discharged.

-   This is possible due to a well-thought-out water distribution system all over the plant with a number of water treatment facilities, water towers and an extensive piping system.

-   The water recycling concept of ArcelorMittal Gent is based upon the use of fresh canal water in counterflow to the production processes. Fresh water is used first in the cold rolling mills. After purification the same water is used again in the hot rolling mill and so on.

-   Different kinds of water treatment systems are in use:

  • Sand filters at the canal water intake to remove suspended matter;
  • Biological water treatment (coke plant & sanitary waste water)
  • Physical-chemical treatment (blast furnaces, steel shop, cold rolling mill & organic coating line);
  • Gravity filters (hot strip mill).

- One project that substantially contributed to the reduction of the pollution load of the discharged waste waters has been the coupling of the individual waste water treatment systems of the steel shop (slightly alkaline waste water) and the blast furnaces (slightly acidic waste water). This project also resulted in a decrease  with 3 million m3 of discharged waste water

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-   We strive towards converting all used natural resources into products that are useful for society. For that reason we have operating procedures in place to meticulously collect all different residues.

-   Large quantities of residues are reused internally, e.g. steel scrap, dust and sludge from flue gas treatment units, mill scales, oxides.

-   Other residues can be contaminated by certain elements and can for process-technical or environmentally reasons not be reused internally. For these types of residues we look for external solutions in which recycling is given priority and disposal is avoided.

-   In 2005 a new installation (investment of 5 million EUR) was built in the steel shop to convert LD slag into LD gravel. External applications of LD slag are limited because of the low volume stability due to the content of free lime in LD slag. Also market demand was dropping. By creating an additional production stage, in which the chemical composition of the melting flux is adapted in the liquid phase, an artificial stone can be produced that meets the product quality requirements of the building industry. In this new unit a silicon carrier (quartz sand) is brought in the melting flux at high temperature. The silicon binds to the free lime with the formation of lime silicates resulting in a much better volume stability of the product. The new product, LD gravel, can be used in road construction as an alternative to natural products such as porphyry. In this way ArcelorMittal Gent contributes to the safeguarding of natural resources.

-   Although there’s no legal obligation some residual flows are also collected selectively for recycling purposes (e.g. clean and pure wood waste, plastic bottles, tin cans and carton packages).

Less than 4000 tons/year of industrial waste is to be disposed into a landfill

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-   The Flemish Regulations on Soil Decontamination forces us to periodically conduct soil investigations on all plots of land on which activities are carried out that can cause soil or groundwater contamination.

-   For the purpose of these investigations a considerable quantity of groundwater monitoring wells is in place.

A lot of attention is paid that the necessary infrastructure exists to prevent soil or groundwater contamination in case of incidents. E.g. secondary containments and overflow detection for storage tanks, impermeable flooring, availability of absorbent granules and spill booms  in all places with the risk of spilling.

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Energy / CO2

-   In 30 years’ time, we have succeeded in reducing our energy consumption per ton of steel produced by one third (25 GJ per ton of hot rolled coil in 1980 compared to 17 GJ in 2011).

-   In September 2003, ArcelorMittal Gent signed the Benchmark covenant with the Flemish government, thus committing ourselves to be among the best performing steelworks in the world regarding energy consumption per ton of steel produced.

-   Mid-2010 an important step forward was made by the commissioning of the BOF-gas recovery unit in the steel shop. This investment allowed us to reduce energy consumption by about 0,7 GJ per ton of liquid steel. This is a 4% cut in our company’s overall energy consumption.

-   Also mid-2010 Electrabel (GDF Suez) commissioned a new power plant on our site to convert blast furnace gas and BOF-gas into electricity with an efficiency of over 40%.

-   74% of our CO2-emissions are inherent in the blast furnace process. There is only limited improvement potential to reduce those emissions. However, the better we control the coke and sinter quality, by choosing the most suited raw materials, the more we will increase carbon efficiency and the more we will reduce CO2-emissions of our blast furnaces.

-   Other  CO2-emissions mainly result from combustion processes. These can be reduced by increasing energy-efficiency of those processes.

In 2011, our global specific emissions amounted to 1,793 tons of CO2 per ton of liquid steel. Compared to other steelworks using the blast furnace route, this is a very good performance.

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ArcelorMittal Gent’s premises cover an area of about 8,5 km2 of which half is a belt of rich woodland used as a buffer between our industrial activities and the surroundings. Over the years there has been continuous afforestation. You can mainly find native deciduous trees such as oak, birch, ash, poplar, black alder, willow and many others.
Together with the flora, a rich fauna has developed itself. Besides game such as rabbits and pheasants one can find hedgehogs, squirrels, herons, buzzards, toads, shelducks, black-headed gulls and many other rare and common types of birds.

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Other sustainable aspects


  • The East Flanders Environmental Charter
    We voluntarily take part in the ‘East Flanders Environmental Charter’. This is an initiative of the East Flanders Chamber of Commerce to encourage companies to pursue an active environmental policy aimed at improving the environmental and living conditions in the surroundings. Complying with environmental regulations is a basic condition for participation. Every year again, for at least four of ten environmental issues, we must set clear objectives en put in place an action plan to reach those objectives. When a company succeeds in this, it is awarded with the Environmental Charter Certificate.
    We take part since 2003 and in 2011 we were presented with the Environmental Charter certificate for the 8th consecutive year.
  • The biennial FEB environmental awards for industry:
    • First prize for Belgium in the Clean Technology Category for “Improved biological purification of coking plant waste water” (1991-1992)
    • First prize for Belgium in the Clean Technology Category for “The production of demineralised water from polluted and brackish surface water by means of reverse osmosis” (1993-1994);
    • Honourable mention in the Clean Technology Category for “Sustainable water consumption by means of industrial symbiosis” (1997-1998);
    • The Environmental Award for Belgium in the Technologies for Sustainable Development Category for “Combating dioxin emissions of the sinter plants” (2001);
  • The European Better Environment Award For Industry (EBEAFI), for the project to produce demineralised water from polluted and brackish surface water by means of reverse osmosis (1993-1994).
  • IBR award:
    ArcelorMittal Gent has twice been granted the Award for the Best Environmental Report, an initiative by the Belgian Institue of Company Auditors (IBR), for its first “Annual Environmental Report 1999” and the “Environmental Report 2001-2002”.
  • The “Herman Devoldere” award
    In 2002, “Het Groen Platform” presented ArcelorMittal Gent with the “Herman Devoldere” environmental award for the introduction of the ISO 14001 environmental management system. “Het Groen Platform” is a local joint initiative between environmental and nature preservation associations, agricultural associations, trade unions, sociocultural bodies and consumer associations that campaigns for the safeguarding of the quality of live in the neighbouring municipalities Desteldonk, Mendonk and Sint-Kruis-Winkel.
  • The “Energy-Friendly Company” award
    Within the framework of the 2006 Flemish Company Open Day, ArcelorMittal Gent was one of the nine companies to be nominated for the award for the most energy-friendly company. The company was given this honour for all its efforts to produce steel in an energy-efficient manner.


ArcelorMittal Gent not only receives environmental awards, but it also awards prizes to meritorious students. Since 1995, every year ArcelorMittal Gent has presented environmental awards to the best theses that address environment-relevant issues in courses such as "Bio-engineering" and "Master of Science in Environmental Sanitation" at the University of Gent. ArcelorMittal Gent presents these environmental awards to stress the importance of environment-relevant research and wants to further encourage this kind of research in the future.


  • Environmental meeting days
    Every 2 years an environmental meeting day is organised. We inform our neighbours, local residents’ groups, environmental councils, nature associations and the general public on our environmental management. The participants are then taken on a tour of a number of facilities that safeguard the environment.
  • Environmental visits
    In addition to conventional company visits, ArcelorMittal Gent also organises specialised tours for environmentalists, authorities and pressure groups, accompanied by members of the environmental department.
  • Information meetings
    ArcelorMittal Gent takes part in information meetings for neighbouring municipalities and for the entire province of East Flanders, on environmental issues. In addition, the company takes part by special invitation in information meetings organised by third parties.
  • ECO2-project
    With the ECO2-project the government aims at establishing buffer zones between industrial areas and residential areas. These buffer zones will become nature reserve, woodland, pleasure-grounds or agricultural areas. ArcelorMittal Gent supports this initiative.

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