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ROME (Reuters) - Italy's Ilva steel plant has begun a shutdown after a court ordered it to close because of evidence pollution from Europe's biggest steel works was causing above average cancer rates in the southern city of Taranto.

A court on Saturday gave administrators five days to begin shutting the factory, prompted by a series of damning environmental reports which blamed emissions of dust and cancer-causing chemicals from the site for abnormal levels of tumors and respiratory diseases in the Taranto region.

Adolfo Buffo, the manager of the plant, said in a press conference on Monday that Ilva's blast furnace number one will be off by the end of November.

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