The electric arc furnace
at ArcelorMittal’s production
site in Luxembourg
 
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 December 2009 – ArcelorMittal “’ the world’s biggest steelmaker “’ says it may buy more mines in 2010 to increase its supply of iron ore as prices for the raw material used to make steel are expected to rebound.

“Acquisitions will be part of the mix next year,” ArcelorMittal head of strategy Bill Scotting told Bloomberg News here. “Expanding mines and developing projects will also be part of the company’s drive to be more self-sufficient,” he added. “The Luxembourg-based company supplies about half its iron ore needs and plans to raise the share to between 75 and 85% by 2014.”

Lakshmi Mittal “’ ArcelorMittal’s CEO and 41% shareholder “’ has added mining assets in Brazil and Russia since Mittal Steel bought Arcelor SA in 2006 in the steel industry’s biggest takeover. His strategy of adding raw material supplies, which helped swell ArcelorMittal’s debt to as much as US$32.5 billion (R240 billion) in 2008, may be vindicated next year as iron ore and coking coal prices gain.

“ArcelorMittal is also seeking to bolster its self- sufficiency in coking coal from 15% to between 20 and 25%,” Scotting said. Coking coal prices are expected to advance by 40% next year.

ArcelorMittal produced 37.1 million metric tonnes of iron ore in the first nine months of 2009.

The company’s debt rose to USD$32.5 billion (R240 billion) in September 2008 after it had bought mines and steelmaking assets in Brazil and Russia. Then steel prices plunged in the fourth quarter of last year, spurring the company to reduce production by as much as 50% and to announce 9 000 job cuts.

The company raised US$11.4 billion (R85 billion) in the second quarter of this year to accelerate its debt-reduction plan. In July, it renegotiated banking covenants on about US$32 billion (R240 billion) of facilities, and net debt was US$21.6 billion (R162 billion) as of 30 September.