Makkah Governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal ordered the closure of Al-Rajhi Steel, Jeddah's largest steel producer, in the aftermath of environmental violations reported in the city, particularly in the Al-Qouzine neighbourhood, according to a local newspaper.

The Jeddah Secretariat affirmed that the factory was built without explicit approval from it, since they did not obtain an environmental endorsement in the first place. Nonetheless, it has been operating since 2007, ignoring the warnings issued in this regard and on gas emissions.

The company produces around 850kt/y of steel products.

Al-Rajhi Steel filed an appeal to the Ministry of Municipality and Rural Affairs requesting that a special committee examine the factory and address the flaws. The appeal, however, was rejected by the governorate, which gave concern for citizen’s health as the reason for the closure and reiterated the decision to close the factory until permanent solutions were sought and implemented by Al-Rajhi Steel’s management.

Sources at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said the factory ranked third in terms of projects that have dangerous effects on the environment.

Abridged from Daily ‘Arab News’, Riyadh; 20 Jan 2013