September 27, 2012 / 3:53 PM / in 5 years

France demands restart of idled ArcelorMittal furnaces

General view of the ArcelorMittal steel plant in Liege September 27, 2012. REUTERS/Laurent Dubrule (BELGIUM - Tags: BUSINESS)

FLORANGE, France (Reuters) - France’s industry minister called on steelmaker ArcelorMittal ISPA.AS on Thursday to make the investment needed to restart idled blast furnaces at its Florange site or put it up for sale.

“The French government has at the highest level insisted, repeated, recalled ... that we want the restart of these two furnaces at Florange that have been idled for 14 months,” Arnaud Montebourg told employees at the site in northeastern France.

He urged ArcelorMittal to make investments totaling 150 million euros ($192.9 million), adding that if not ArcelorMittal was no longer interested in the site it could be purchased by “any interested industrial operator in the world.”

Reporting by Gilbert Reilhac; Writing by Mark John

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