(Bloomberg) -- Dutch prosecutors inspected Tata Steel Ltd.’s IJmuiden facility as part of their criminal investigation into pollution around the site.
The Public Prosecution Service said the visit on Tuesday was to gain more insight into the steel production process, “specifically into the operation of the coke and gas factories.” In February, officials said they would investigate Tata and Harsco Metals Holland BV over whether they intentionally and unlawfully introduced hazardous substances into the soil, air or surface water.
“We are cooperating with this visit,” Ariane Volz, a spokesperson for Tata Steel, said by phone. “We see it as a visit so they get to know our company.”
The probe has the potential to draw scrutiny to other steelmaking operations across Europe, and increase calls for greener production processes. Traditional steelmaking uses large amounts of coal -- the dirtiest fossil fuel -- and chemicals, risking pollution to surrounding areas.
Once the investigation is completed, the officials will announce whether Tata will be prosecuted.
Earlier this year, a Dutch public health agency found higher concentrations of metals and carcinogens around the IJmuiden factory than disclosed in Tata’s own figures. The company announced last year plans to convert its plant to run on hydrogen amid mounting political pressure to clean up the operations.
--With assistance from Eddie Spence.
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