A subsidiary of the Linz, Austria-based steelmaker voestalpine has agreed to pay for the cleaning of homes, vehicles or other property owned by people living in parts of Portland, Texas, after a ‘mysterious black material’ appeared in the city.

According to the Caller Times, part of the USA Today network, Voestalpine Texas has confirmed that the material is not harmful and that it has properties similar to that of Texas background soil.

Clean-up services are being arranged by Voestalpine at no cost to property owners.

Voestalpine Texas operates a 480-acre DRI (Direct Reduced Iron) plant where raw iron is transformed into hot briquettes that are used in electric steel production. The plant is located on the outskirts of Portland and claims to utilise ‘the best available control technologies’.

The company claims that because natural gas and iron oxides are the only raw materials used in the process, no hazardous or toxic by-products will occur in the facility. Voestalpine Texas’ holistic environmental approach enables the company to keep one step ahead in terms of environmental stewardship.