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Befesa signs a Voluntary Agreement for environmental improvement in the Basque Country

November 15, 2004

On October 6th, representatives from 35 Basque Region companies (40 facilities) including Befesa Aluminio Bilbao, Befesa Zinc Aser, Befesa Zinc Amorebieta and Befesa Zinc Sondika from the Ferrous casting, Non-Ferrous Casting and Non-Ferrous Metallurgy sector, and Sabin Intxaurraga, councilor for the Department of Territorial and Environmental Planning and chairman of the Public Environmental Company IHOBE, signed a Voluntary Agreement committing them to undertaking environmental improvement in the sector in the Autonomous Basque Country Region.

Befesa was represented at the ceremony, held in Bilbao, by Manuel Barrenechea Guimón and Federico Barredo Ardanza.

Through this Voluntary Agreement, the signing companies are committed to adopting a series of measures in relation to industrial wastes, hazardous as well as non-hazardous, to atmospheric emissions, liquid spills, acoustic contamination, and the prevention of contaminated soil and other subjects of environmental interest.

Some of the most relevant activities to be carried out by the companies will include: analyzing the acoustic impact of their facilities and the subsequent implementation of measures to reduce noise contamination; the analysis of soil quality in 100% of the Non-ferrous Metallurgy facilities and the implementation of standard ISO 14001 in the year 2006.

Furthermore, the companies are committed to searching for new ways to valorize non-hazardous wastes; to implementing measures to increase the monitoring and reduction of emissions to the atmosphere and water, and to carrying out a noise impact analysis to adopt noise contamination reduction measures.

In accordance with other objectives included in this agreement with the Basque Government, the companies in the Ferrous and Non-ferrous Casting and Non-ferrous Metallurgy sector intend to prepare themselves for the coming into force of the future Soil Contamination Prevention and Correction Bill by preparing their facilities to avoid any type of contamination of the land they occupy.

In addition, the Department of Territorial and Environmental Planning undertakes, through the public environmental management company IHOBE, to elaborate a guide for performing noise metering activities; carry out a logistics study on non-hazardous waste collection and facilitate access to tax deductions for investments made in green technologies, among others.

With this Agreement, there are now more than 120 companies from six industrial sectors in the Autonomous Basque Country Region (cement sector, chemical sector, steel sector, paste paper sector, and hazardous waste managers sector) that have committed themselves to environmentally improve their processes and get ahead of the environmental legislation application periods.

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