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UPDATE 1-Italy court seizes Italcementi plant over emissions

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ROME, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Italian authorities have takencontrol of a cement plant belonging to Italcementi ,the world's fifth-largest cement maker, over allegations ofillegal toxic emissions, the company said on Thursday.

The company has been given 10 days to finish updating itsfacilities to bring them in line with European Unionregulations, during which time production at the plant willcontinue, according to a statement.

Italcementi said the process of updating the plant hadalready been underway for some weeks and would continue underspecial administrators appointed to operate factory by thecourt.

Justice officials said the seizure for violation ofpollution regulations was ordered by a court in the nearby townof Velletri, based on a report by the regional environmentalprotection agency, Arpa.

This is the second case this year of an Italian courtseizure of a major factory for environmental reasons.

Europe's biggest steel plant Ilva, based in southern Italy,was ordered to shut down last month by a court due to toxicemissions.

The ruling prompted a series of protests by unions andopposition from within Mario Monti's government as the factoryis a vital employer in a region of high joblessness, causingsomething of a political headache for the technocrat leader.

Italcementi, one of Italy's 10 largest industrial companiesand the country's biggest cement producer, has plants across thecountry and employs roughly 200 workers at the plant inColleferro, southeast of Rome.

The Colleferro plant produces about 74 million tonnes ofcement per year, or about 2 percent of Italcementi's totalannual output, according to the company's Web site.

(Reporting by Naomi O'Leary; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)

((naomi.oleary@thomsonreuters.com)(+39 06 8522 4392)(ReutersMessaging: naomi.oleary.reuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: ITALY ITALCEMENTI/OPERATIONS

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