Bolivia’s Empresa Siderúrgica Mutún (ESM) is resuming construction at its steelmaking and iron ore complex by March 2021.
The country’s Ministry of Mining and Metallurgy recently inspected the site to verify the construction status of the plant and provided official permission to resume the plant’s construction after it was halted in January 2020.
According to the Mining Ministry, the national steel plant’s construction will be implemented in three stages. The first is the installation of 194,000mt of annual capacity of light non-flat rolled products, followed by raising production of these products to 450,000mt per year. The third stage will consist of adding 450,000mt of non-flat rolled products and increasing flat-rolled capacity by 100,000mt. The plant is expected to capture a significant portion of Bolivia’s $400mn in steel imports.
The project represents an investment of $546mn in the Germán Busch province in Santa Cruz and will be executed by the Chinese company Sinosteel Equipment and Engineering in Q1 2021 with expected completion in 2024. The expanded iron ore project will allow the steel company to produce high-quality steel on site. The plant could be commissioned in late 2023 if no further delays.
Within the first year of steelmaking operations, the company plans to have 100 Bolivians train in China. The steel company is expected to generate 4,500 direct and indirect jobs in the region.
ESM exports iron ore to Brazil and other neighboring countries. The iron ore plant will treat 650,000mt of crude mineral annually.
The Mutún Steel Plant in Santa Cruz began construction in mid-2018 with a plan to achieve production start-up within 30 months. The schedule changed and construction began in January 2019 with an expected outlook of 42months.