Bolivia’s Empresa Siderúrgica del Mutún (ESM) is slated to export iron ore to Argentina and Germany, as reported by Davis Index in mid-June. The initial volume of 250,000mt has now been increased to 350,000mt with an estimated value of $9mn.
The first shipment of 25,700mt, which comprised two grades, Fe 63pc and Fe 65pc iron ore, worth $3mn, was shipped to ArcelorMittal’s Acindar facility in Argentina in mid-July. Around 150,000mt of the total exports to the entity are slated for dispatch until December through the Paraguay- Paraná river waterway.
According to Milko Moreno, ESM’s president, the company is expanding its iron ore client portfolio to include deliveries to the US and China.
Moreno also added that ESM is unable to proceed with the building of its previously planned electric-arc furnace (EAF) in Santa Cruz as a result of design delays by its Chinese contractor, Sinosteel. The latter received $104mn in advance towards the project but achieved only 3pc of the construction. The steel plant was to have a three-phase build-out. The first stage was to include a plant with a 194,000mt annual capacity, making construction products. The second phase was to increase production volume to 450,000mt with the final stage reaching 1mn of production capacity.
The delayed design and other breached points, including Sinosteel’s inclination to a blast furnace over an EAF, have delayed the construction. Moreno noted that ESM wishes to save the project and is in discussing a contingency plan with the Chinese embassy, financing agencies, and the projects supervisor, Cisdi.