The Indian businessman Lakshmi Mittal is unlikely to stay on as chief executive of ArcelorMittal in Kazakhstan, the country's Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov said.
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"Year in, year out, we have been seeing a decline in investment in the maintenance of manufacturing. And the main thing is, we are seeing accidents continue [and] people dying. Now, the pressing issue is to replace the owner at this enterprise," Smailov was quoted on the Tengrinews website as saying.
"We are already in talks with Mittal and his people.[...] I think this issue will be finally resolved once the ecological audit and the industrial safety audit [at ArcelorMittal Temirtau] are completed. That is why we don't see any prospect of this investor remaining in Kazakhstan."
He made the statement on a trip to the Karaganda region where he held an emergency meeting and met the families of those killed in an accident at the Kazakhstanskaya coal mine.
"In November, when there was another tragedy, the management of ArcelorMittal tried to reassure that it would make all necessary efforts to ensure workplace safety. Plans were announced to invest $3 billion. However, we are not seeing any of this happening," Smailov said.
Asked by journalists what Mittal said to all claims and demands, the prime minister said, "He is not saying anything."
The latest accident occurred at the company's Kazakhstanskaya coal mine last Thursday. At 10:05 a.m. (7:05 a.m. Moscow time) a conveyor belt caught fire in the workings of coal slope D6 (horizon - 170 meters).
There were 227 people in the mine, who were brought to the surface through the flank shaft; 222 miners were evacuated, three were found dead, and the search for the other two missing miners continues.
On Friday President Tokayev said that, "the ongoing accidents at enterprises owned by a foreign company indicate a serious breach of its investment and other obligations with corresponding consequences for the subsequent presence on the Kazakh market."
ArcelorMittal Temirtau is part of the multinational steelmaker ArcelorMittal. In Kazakhstan the company owns 15 coal and iron ore mines. ■