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SA may help build new steel mill

An ArcelorMittal
steel mill
Pretoria, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 16 April 2008 – South Africa may decide in September on the feasibility of helping to build a steel plant to compete with the country’s biggest steelmaker.

Bloomberg News quotes trade and industry minister Mandisi Mpahlwa as telling reporters here that the government is considering ‘several initiatives’ – including a plant in Mozambique – to expand its manufacturing industry by making steel available at prices below those charged by ArcelorMittal South Africa.

The Vanderbijlpark-based company – 52% owned by the world’s biggest steelmaker ArcelorMittal – is appealing a record R691.8 million rand (US$86 million) fine imposed by South Africa’s anti-trust regulator on September 6 for excessive pricing, Bloomberg reports, and it will increase prices in May for a fourth consecutive month.

South Africa has held talks with various companies, including Tata Steel Ltd., over a plant to rival ArcelorMittal’s, according to the department of trade & industry.

Acting director-general Sipho Zikode told Bloomberg the feasibility study into the South African mill is being overseen by the state-owned Industrial Development Corporation. “It will depend on the studies whether it is feasible to have both a steel mill in South Africa and one in Mozambique,” he said.

The establishment of a mill in Mozambique is being evaluated by South Africa’s state mining research company Mintek, together with the Mozambican government, according to Mpahlwa.